Hand transplantation surgery refers to the transfer of surgical re-implantation of the hand/ arm from a deceased human donor to someone with amputation of one or both hands or arms. It is a reconstructive procedure that can significantly improve the lives of people with upper limb amputation or someone who does not have the upper limbs by birth.
A hand transplant surgery is considered to be a life-giving procedure that improves and restores a patient’s mental and physical health, along with the ability to function and integrate into the society. However, like any other organ transplantation, this improvement also requires the patient to continue taking medications for a lifetime to maintain the functionality of the transplanted limbs.
The surgery is a complex procedure that involves every artery, bone, vein, muscle, tissue, etc., to be properly attached to the patient’s body type. The blood group match is a must and the functionality depends on the patient’s recovery pattern and ability to adjust with the new limbs. After the surgery, the recipient of the new limb will have to take immunosuppressive drugs to maintain the new hand/arm, as the natural immune system of the body might try to reject or destroy the transplanted limb.
Postoperative recovery may consist of extensive physical therapy for as long as 6-8 months or even up to a year. This therapy is essential to help the patient regain the smooth functioning of their transplanted hand.