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Reconstructive Surgeons Perform 17-Hour Double Hand Transplant

A team of 6 doctors and 14 fellows at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center completed a double hand transplant last Wednesday, replacing the hands of a patient who had suffered severe burns and loss of hand function.

According to courier-journal.com, the lead hand surgeon says he hopes the patient can recover 80 to 90 percent of his hand function and “reasonably good grip strength.”

During the 17-hour operation, a non-participating physician in the OR sent out periodic Twitter updates on the progress of the transplant, which you can see at twitter.com/jewishhospital. Interesting Tweets like the following were posted:

“Tendon suturing nearing completion. Nerve repair to follow. This includes suturing nerves of each finger from donor to recipient.”

“Surgeons are working on connecting nerves in the right hand from the donor to the recipient.”

“Skin graft on right hand finished and hand is completely closed. Starting cleansing and bandaging.”

The surgery was “complex” but successful. The doctors said Twitter updates would have continued even if they had encountered complications during surgery.

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