A British man has become the first person in the UK to undergo a hand transplant after losing his own to gout.
The eight-hour operation was performed on 51-year-old Mark Cahill at Leeds General Infirmary in Northern England after a donor was found just after Christmas.
The patient says he is delighted and now has some very simple ambitions: “Hopefully I will be able to get back to work for a start. That’s a major difference. I might be able to cut my food up, button my shirts, fasten a pair of shoelaces, but mainly I’ll be able to hold my grandson’s hand.”
“I’m getting slight movement now – my feeling has just started to come back but everything’s looking very, very good, it’s doing well,” he added.
The doctors used a new technique which allowed very accurate restoration of nerve structures.
Consultant plastic surgeon, Professor Simon Kay, who led the surgical team, said: “I think Mark’s got a very strong chance of re-gaining good function. He had a functionless hand before, he had no function in it at all, Over the next six months to a year we expect to see recovery of feeling, recovery of movement, recovery of power. I’d be very disappointed if that didn’t happen and I strongly believe it will.”
The first hand transplant was carried out in Lyon, France in 1998.