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Hand Or Arm Transplantation: When The Body Rejects It

Dr. Richard Edwards, a chiropractor from Oklahoma and the nation’s third double-hand transplant, was recently in the news again. This time it a report that he “may lose the fingertips on his right thumb and pinkie because his body started to reject the new limbs.”

Dr. Edwards’ surgery was live tweeted when it was done in August by Louisville surgeons at The Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center.

Jeff Kepner, the first patient in the United States to receive two hands simultaneously, experienced an episode of rejection which was dealt with successfully.

Rejection is never a good thing in a transplant patient no matter which organ or body part is transplanted. Even though I applaud the advances being made, we must always consider the cost of the proposed treatment and ask: Is there a better option for this individual? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Sometimes It’s Better To Amputate

There’s no technological substitute for the human hand. Manual dexterity is incredibly hard to replicate, and so surgeons will go to great lengths to save injured hands. Unfortunately, sometimes the injury is too severe to allow for any meaningful functional recovery.

In these two cases, well-meaning surgeons refused to amputate the unsalvageable hands, thus delaying recovery and adaptation of prostheses.

This is a photo of a trauma victim who underwent extensive reconstruction of the hand, including transplantation of a toe to the thumb’s position. Gangrene set in and tracked up one of the tendon sheaths.


Photo Credit: Dr. Heikki Uustal

In this case, a burn victim was hoping to have some fingers reconstructed from his fist. He declined amputation and fitting with a prosthesis, despite the potential for enhanced function.


Photo Credit: Dr. Heikki Uustal

In both cases, a wrist disarticulation (amputation at the wrist) and prosthetic fitting (such as this myo-electric device with a self-suspending socket) might have provided a better functional and cosmetic outcome:

Photo Credit: Dr. Heikki Uustal

Photo Credit: Dr. Heikki Uustal

Sometimes, it’s better to amputate.

Youngest Patient Fitted With Carbon Fiber Leg Prostheses

GAZ_ELLIE_1_E16_SUBMITTED_v01.jpg.display.jpgA five year old British girl who had her outer limbs amputated due to meningitis (meningococcemia with meningitis accompanied by gangrene of the extremities would be our guess) has received a new pair of legs.

The high tech carbon fiber pair is of the variety commonly seen on competitive Special Olympics athletes, some of whom run faster than old fashion legged people. Ellie’s parents say that she already walks twice as fast as her previous conventional prosthetic pair.

We believe that medical devices will greatly improve Ellie’s life in the future, and hopefully she can one day receive a proper pair of Deka arms.

More from Echo UK…

(hat tip: Gizmodo)

*This post was originally published at*

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