A man in his 20s who lost both legs in a traffic accident and was unable to walk with prosthetic limbs underwent the first double leg transplant last Sunday under the care of Pedro Cavadas and his team of about 50 staff members at the La Fe Hospital in Valencia, Spain. The operation took 14 hours, and the man is now under observation to ensure his body won’t reject his fancy new stems. If all goes well, he’ll be able to move his knees in a few weeks and stand in a pool in a couple months. Cavadas said he may be walking in six months. The patient will still need to take expensive immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his life (or until he trades in his donor limbs for customized stem-cell-created ones).
If the doctor’s name seems familiar, it may be because he carried out the first hand and lower arm transplant as well as the first face transplant which included a new tongue and jaw. Not both on the same unfortunate dude, thankfully.
Nadey Hakim, who performed the world’s first hand and double hand transplants, questioned whether the legs would ever support the man’s bodyweight. Transplanted arms, for instance, gain only about 50% of normal function. [DailyMail]
La la la I can’t hear you, Dr. Buzzkillington. (Because I’m still on the waiting list for transplanted eardrums. Tragic.)