Hand Transplant

Department of Hand Transplantation

Hand transplant is a surgical procedure to transplant one or both hands from one human being to another. The donor hand comes from a brain-dead donor. Hand transplant can be considered for people who have lost one or both hands for any reason (road-traffic accident, industrial or agricultural accidents, electrocution, burns, sepsis, etc). The loss of partial hand or few digits can be managed by reconstructive surgery. However, if all fingers or entire hand is lost, there is no satisfactory reconstruction possible.

There is no good functional prosthesis for the hand, even in today’s advanced computer era. Artificial hands provide very limited function, and are often given up by the hand amputees.

Hand transplant is the only option for these amputees, which can help them to regain useful hand function in order to live an independent life. In appropriately selected candidates, this is the best rehabilitative option.


Why Choose Us

Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai is a leading transplant center in Mumbai and Western India. We have the most cutting-edge equipment, carry out innovative new procedures, and follow the best protocols in reconstructive transplantation surgery.

You could not be in better hands to receive this wonderful new opportunity, and live your own life again, on your own independent terms.


Diagnosis

All potential recipients for hand transplantation undergo a detailed consultation to understand the complexity and magnitude of the entire procedure. A thorough clinical examination is performed to assess the technical possibility of the procedure. This is followed by detailed investigations and consultation with multiple other specialists involved in the transplantation process. After a detailed psychosocial assessment, the patient is then listed for hand transplantation with the competent authorities of the state government. Following this, we have to wait for a suitable brain-dead donor to donate his hands, which can be attached to the recipient, after appropriate cross-matching. Blood group and HLA cross-match are crucial for the final decision making.


Treatment

Eligibility for Hand Transplant

The decision making in transplant surgery is multifactorial. These factors are medical, psychological, social and economic. The patient is thoroughly investigated for the technical feasibility of the surgery. He/she is assessed medical fitness to undergo the major surgery followed by life-long immunosuppression. The psychological and mental stability of the patient is assessed, to make sure he understands the complexity of the entire treatment plan and the possible repercussions of potential risks and complications. The social structure and the family support of the patient are equally crucial to tide over the entire treatment process. Last but not the least the financial stability of the patient is important to ensure smooth treatment and favorable outcomes. All these factors put together help in deciding the eligibility for hand transplantation.


Procedures

The hand transplant surgery is technically complex and challenging surgery, and it needs a large multidisciplinary team of Plastic and Hand Surgeons, skilled with microsurgical expertise. The transplant surgery needs coordination between all the team members. The average operating time for single hand transplant is 8-10 hours and for double hand transplant is 15-18 hours.

Pre-operative matching of the donor and recipient is performed to ensure compatibility for transplantation. Before surgery, the recipient is started with immunosuppressive medications to avoid rejection of the transplanted hand.

The donor hand is attached to the recipient part by part – bones are fixed first, followed by repair of major blood vessels, tendons, nerves and skin.


Plastic Surgery: Our Doctors

Dr Nilesh Satbhai

MBBS, MS, MCh

Senior Consultant & Head of Department

Dr Vispi Noshir Driver

MBBS, MS, MCH, DNB

Consultant


FAQs

How long will be the hospital stay?

Following the surgery, the recipient is closely monitored by the ICU team to ensure smooth hemodynamic recovery. The patient is shifted out of the ICU after 10-14 days. The early physiotherapy and rehabilitation start few days after the surgery and continues throughout the stay of the patient. The patient is usually discharged 3-4 weeks after the surgery.

How often will be the follow-up post the surgery?

Immediately after discharge from the hospital, it is advisable that the patient stays nearby or in the same city, as it makes his follow up and physiotherapy visits easier. The patient may have to visit more frequently in the first 2-3 months till the medications and physiotherapy are adjusted optimally. Following this the patient may have to visit every 2-3 monthly in the first year after surgery. Skin biopsies are performed at regular intervals in order to monitor any acute graft rejection.

The duration between the subsequent visits may be longer depending on the patient’s progress. In the long term, at least a yearly visit would be required throughout the lifetime.

Are there any risks involved?

Any microvascular surgery carries a small risk of vascular complications which may result in failure of the transplanted tissue.

Besides this, all transplant recipients have to be on lifelong immunosuppression. These medications can predispose these patients to complications such as opportunistic bacterial and viral infections, hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, etc.

However, with regular follow up and proper titration of medications, it is possible to treat or control most of these complications.

What are the key benefits of hand transplant?

Hand transplantation is the only procedure which restores a normal physical appearance, with good motor and sensory function, comparable to a normal hand.

No other method of reconstructive surgery or prosthetics can provide a comparable solution or outcome for a hand amputee.

We are with you in your journey to better health

A consultation with our panel of doctors, specialists and surgeons will help you determine what kind of services you may need to help diagnose and treat your condition. If you or someone in your family or friend’s circle are facing any health issues, please get in touch with us, we are here for you.