The University of Michigan Launches Hand Transplant Program

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, October 2, 2015

The University of Michigan Health System has found yet another way for the dead to help the living: give them their hands. U-M announced today that it is launching a hand transplant program -- the first of its kind in Michigan – that involves transferring a hand from a deceased human donor to a person who has lost one or both hands. Hand transplants themselves aren’t new as they’ve been performed in the U.S. for about 15 years. But they are still rare. Roughly 100 hand transplants have been performed worldwide and only seven programs in the U.S. offer the surgery, which allows patients to feel objects again – unlike other options, like prosthetics. “Regaining an arm or hand can vastly improve the quality of life of a patient, allowing them to do daily tasks. We believe hand transplantation can be a great option to help people who haven’t had success with other options,”  said U-M surgical professor Kagan Ozer, who is the surgical director of the new hand transplant program and has specialized in post-traumatic reconstruction in elbow and hand surgery. U-M’s announcement comes two months after an 8-year-old suburban Baltimore boy became the youngest patient to receive a double-hand transplant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in an 11-hour operation. The child had lost his limbs to a serious infection, but an anonymous donation came through, allowing the boy to get new hands. Read more at Detroit Free Press.