Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Hospital plans hand transplant ops

A hospital trust says it is getting ready to perform the UK's first hand transplant

The UK's first hand transplant could take place within 12 months, a hospital trust says.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has written to plastic surgeons across the country asking them to help identify possible adult patients who could undergo the pioneering procedure.

The service will be led by Professor Simon Kay, consultant plastic surgeon and an expert in delicate microsurgery and reconstruction.

He has been working in close partnership with European centres which already offer the surgery in preparation for the procedure to start at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

If all goes to plan the first hand/arm transplant could take place at LGI within 12 months, with the hospital joining an elite group of centres across the world who have so far carried out around 60 successful procedures.

"Leeds is extremely well placed to offer this new type of transplant surgery as we already have the expertise and facilities in place and excellent clinical outcomes," Professor Kay said.

"We are one of the best-known microsurgery units in Europe and the principles of transplanting a hand and lower limb are exactly the same as the work we already do to reattach an existing hand or limb when it is severed in an accident, for example.

"Preparing for any new type of transplant surgery takes time and of course we need to ensure we have all the protocols in place for when the time comes.

"As part of this we need to start now in identifying a number of patients from around the country who could potentially be the first to undergo the surgery.

"NHS Blood and Transplant is working with us to establish the procedures for identifying potential donors, discussing donation with their next of kin and facilitating donation."

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