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Friday, January 4, 2013

Britain's first hand swap op: 'Ecstatic' grandfather moves fingers for first time in five years after ground-breaking 8-hour transplant

- Mark Cahill, 51, suffered gout and developed infection, causing paralysis
- On Boxing Day became first person to have the eight-hour landmark surgery
- Confirmation of success yesterday as he was able to move his fingers


Eight days ago Mark Cahill was living with a paralysed right hand.

Yesterday he was able to move his fingers for the first time in five years after becoming the first Briton to receive a hand transplant.
The operation also made history as the world’s first when the original hand was removed during the same procedure. In the past, recipients have already lost the hand before the replacement could be found.

'This has changed my life': Mark Cahill, pictured yesterday with wife Sylvia, underwent the first hand transplant eight days ago

Mr Cahill, a 51-year-old grandfather from West Yorkshire, was deprived of the use of the hand when it became infected during a severe attack of gout.
He said he was ecstatic about the operation’s success so far, and hoped to be able to return to work as a pub landlord.

Immediate success: Just one week after Mr Cahill, pictured with Sylvia and surgeon Simon Kay, had his new hand attached he was able to move his fingers for the first time in years

‘This has changed my life,’ he added. ‘It feels great to look at this hand and see it move. Before the operation, I couldn’t tie my own shoes, do up the buttons on my shirt, cut up my own dinner or play with my grandson’s toys with him – hopefully I’ll be able to do all these things now.’
The eight-hour operation was carried out at Leeds General Infirmary by a team led by consultant plastic surgeon Simon Kay.
Mr Cahill, with 47-year-old wife Sylvia by his side, said: ‘I’d like to thank the whole team at the LGI but above all, I would like to thank the donor family. It was a really great thing that they did.’

Professor Kay predicted a year ago that 2012 would see Britain’s first hand transplant – and it happened on December 27 with just four days to go.
He said: ‘This operation is the culmination of a great deal of planning and preparation over the last two years. The team was on two years. The team was on standby from the end of November awaiting a suitable donor limb, and the call came just after Christmas.

Professor Kay has been preparing to carry out a hand transplant for at least ten years, and recently set up a dedicated NHS unit for the procedure.
Although the surgery is similar to re-attaching a hand or arm after it has been severed in an accident, using one from a donor is fraught with problems, he says.

New lease of life: Mark Cahill, pictured before the operation with wife Sylvia and grandson Thomas in 2011, hopes that the days of a useless hand are over and that he can return to employment

Before the operation: Mark suffered from gout and his hand was left paralysed after becoming infected

Brand new hand: The eight-hour surgery involved attaching his arm to the new hand using titanium plates

source: dailymail

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