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First child double hand transplant announced in US

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Baku, July 29, AZERTAC 

An eight-year-old American has become the world`s youngest recipient of a transplant of both hands, Children`s Hospital of Philadelphia announced, according to The Telegraph.

Surgeons operated for 10 hours to carry out the incredibly complicated surgery on Baltimore native Zion Harvey. He previously had both his hands and feet amputated and had a kidney transplant following a major infection.

Zion Harvey is a bright and precocious eight-year-old who has told his doctors that he cannot wait to someday throw a football. A happy and outgoing child, he has adapted well to life without hands, learning to eat, write and even play video games. He figured out ways to perform most of the activities other kids his age can do. Zion received prosthetics for his feet and is able to walk, run and jump with complete independence. Following his latest surgery and after his upcoming rehabilitation, it is expected that Zion will finally get his wish to throw a football along with a myriad of other accomplishments to come.

It took a team of 40 doctors, nurses and other staff from plastic and reconstructive surgery, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology and radiology, to pull off the pioneering surgery. Surgeons first painstakingly attached bone, then veins. Once the blood was circulating, surgeons connected tendons, muscles and nerves. "Zion`s kidney transplant following his infection made him a candidate for transplant because he was already taking anti-rejection medication," said Benjamin Chang, co-director of CHOP`s Hand Transplantation Program.

Double hand transplantation is a complex procedure involving many surgical and non-surgical components. First, the potential recipient must undergo extensive medical screenings and evaluations before surgery. In this case, the patient’s previous medical condition, following sepsis at an early age, factored into the decision to perform the transplant.

Harvey is receiving daily anti-rejection medications. Doctors said he should be able to return home to Baltimore in a few weeks. "This surgery was the result of years of training, followed by months of planning and preparation by a remarkable team," said L Scott Levin. "The success of Penn`s first bilateral hand transplant on an adult, performed in 2011, gave us a foundation to adapt the intricate techniques and coordinated plans required to perform this type of complex procedure on a child."

The first bilateral hand and forearm transplant surgery was done in January 2000 in Lyon, France.

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