Double Hand Transplant: The Crippling Disease That Led to Groundbreaking Surgery
The world’s first double hand transplant operation is a success as a Brit enjoys life after suffering a debilitating illness. Due to the autoimmune disease, he was unable to use his original hands
The NHS has performed the world’s first successful double hand transplant.
The surgery took place five months ago and since then Steven Gallagher, 48, has recovered and taken full control of his new hands.
Steven suffered from an autoimmune condition that left him unable to perform basic tasks, eventually leading to doctors suggesting the groundbreaking surgery.
The father of three initially dismissed the idea because of the many risks involved, but eventually agreed, as if if it were successful it would change his life forever.
Luckily it all sorted itself out and Steven is enjoying life at home with his wife and kids.
What disease led to the double hand transplant?
Steven, a roofer from Dreghorn, Ayrshire, has been diagnosed with scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease that causes scarring on the skin and internal organs.
He first developed the rash 13 years ago and reported that it caused him “terrible” pain.
It wasn’t just his hands that had the condition, it also involved his mouth and nose before it got worse in his hands.
About seven years ago, Steven’s fingers stared at curling until they were fully in the fist position.
At this point, the experts proposed the double hand transplant and the long road to world-changing surgery began.
How long did the operation take?
The operation took place at Leeds General Infirmary in December 2021.
The surgery itself lasted about 12 hours as Steven’s hands were removed and new ones grafted on in hopes that they would allow him to use them.
He stayed in the hospital for about four weeks after the procedure as he recovered from the life-changing surgery.
Now he has finally revealed his decision and what life is like now, thanks to the doctors and experts who breathed new life into him.
Professor Simon Kay, of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “A hand transplant is very different from a kidney or other organ transplant as hands are something we see every day and we use them in so many ways.
“For this reason, we and our experienced clinical psychologists assess and prepare patients to ensure they can psychologically cope with the permanent memory of their transplant and the risk of the body rejecting the transplanted hands.”
What did Steven Gallagher say about the surgery?
Prior to the surgery, Steven was reluctant to perform it as there were many risks involved that it would not be successful.
Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “My wife and I talked about it and we agreed on it.
I could end up losing my hands anyway, so I just had to let them know I was going in.”
The operation was overseen by the Leeds Teaching Hospital HNS Trust and was the first time in the world such a dramatic operation had been carried out anywhere in the world.
Steven explained: “After the surgery I woke up and it was quite surreal because before that I had my hands and when I woke up after the surgery I still had hands so in my mind I never really lost a hand.
“These hands are incredible, everything happened so quickly. From the moment I woke up from the surgery I was able to move it.
“It gave me a new zest for life. It’s still difficult for me now, but with the physio and the occupational therapists it’s getting better every week, everything is only slowly getting better.
“The pain is the most important thing. The pain before the surgery was excruciating, I was on so many painkillers it was unbelievable, but now I have no pain at all.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/double-hand-transplant-crippling-illness-27069660 Double Hand Transplant: The Crippling Disease That Led to Groundbreaking Surgery