Doctors in Leeds Carry Out the UK’s First Double Hand Transplant

July 26th, 2016

Doctors in Leeds have carried out the UK’s first double hand transplant. Chris King, 57, underwent surgery at Leeds General Infirmary last week.

Mr King, from Doncaster, lost the fingers on both hands following a work accident three years ago.

The procedure was carried out by a team led by Professor Simon Kay. Mr King is the second person to have a hand transplant in Leeds, but the first to receive two donor hands.

Speaking after the procedure, Mr King said that he has already has movement in both hands and he feels happier than he would if he’d won the lottery. Having both hands makes him “whole again” and he is hugely optimistic for the future. He described his new hands as “tremendous” and said that they feel like his hands, with blood rushing through the veins.

Consultant plastic surgeon, Prof Kay, said that this procedure was more complex than other hand transplants, as it was focused entirely on the hands, rather than being taken from the wrists. There is also an aesthetic concern with hand transplants, which you don’t get with other organs, such as the liver or kidneys. It’s essential that the team makes every effort to create the best aesthetic possible.

Mr King is now looking forward to taking the bandages off, and seeing his new hands in all their glory. He can’t wait to hold a beer or button up his shirts. He paid tribute to the surgical team, praising their expertise and commenting that his hands look like they have been “made to measure.” Surgery has also enabled Mr King to remember what life was like with hands. After his accident, which he remembers very clearly, he lost memory of what his hands looked like. He’s also looking forward to rediscovering his passion for cycling.

Mr King was inspired to have the procedure after meeting Mark Cahill, the first person to undergo hand transplant treatment in the UK. After talking to Mr Cahill, Mr King felt that a transplant was something he should consider. The pair have become friends and they are now looking forward to shaking hands for the first time.

Prof Kay and his team at Leeds General Infirmary are hoping to carry out around four procedures per year. There are currently four people waiting for donor organs. Prof Kay said that some people feel uncomfortable with the idea of donating a loved one’s hands, as they tend to hold more sentimental value than other organs. Mr King said that his donor hands were the “greatest gift” and urged families to have discussion about donating organs in the event of an accident.

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