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UK's first double hand transplant take place in Leeds

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22 Jul 2016

The UK's first double hand transplant has successfully been completed by team from Leeds General Infirmary led by Professor Simon Kay. 

Chris King, 57, from Doncaster, is only the second person in the country to have a hand transplant, following on from the procedure carried out at Leeds General Infirmary in 2012 on Mark Cahill.

In this latest surgical breakthrough, Professor Kay led a team of eight surgeons who spent 12 hours in the operating theatre. Three consultant anaesthetists also attended during the surgery and a consultant in transplant medicine attended to advise.

Mr King lost both his hands, except the thumbs, in an accident involving a metal pressing machine at work three years ago. He is overjoyed at having the transplant operation.

"I couldn't wish for anything better," he said. "It's better than a lottery win because you feel whole again."

A few days on from the operation he has already had some movement in his new hands. "They look absolutely tremendous," he said."They're my hands. They really are my hands. My blood's going through them. My tendons are attached. They're mine. They really are. I can't wait to get all this (the bandages) off and look at them properly."

Professor Kay said: “This the first time as far as I’m aware, that a hand transplant’s been done which hasn’t been above the wrist, which has been within the substance of the hand, which makes it much more difficult and more complex."

Mr King is the first person to have undergone the procedure since NHS England awarded the contract to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to become the UK’s specialist centre for hand transplants, in April 2016.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, NHS England Director of Specialised Commissioning and Deputy National Medical Director, said: “The NHS is leading the world in offering hand transplants for patients who meet the agreed criteria, free at the point of care - another great example of what the NHS and its excellent clinical teams are capable of.

“Successful transplants can significantly improve quality of life for patients, and we hope that Mr King enjoys similar benefits with the surgical, physiotherapy and ongoing care which this world class team provide”.