Man Gets Successful Double Hand Transplant—and a New Lease on Life

Man Gets Successful Double Hand Transplant—and a New Lease on Life

Scientists Make History With Latest “Space Age” Experiment

( – Experts estimate that nearly 4% of the global population lives with an autoimmune disease. The symptoms are mild for some and only cause occasional flare-ups that sufferers can easily manage. Yet, for others, autoimmune disease changes the course of their lives, as it did for 48-year-old Steven Gallagher from Scotland. However, thanks to a modern medical marvel — a double hand transplant — the man now has a new outlook on life.

Over 13 years ago, Gallagher developed unusual symptoms, including a rash on his face and pain in his arm. He had surgery to treat potential carpal tunnel. But eventually, the pain returned. The symptoms progressed so severely that his hands closed into fists, and he couldn’t do much with them. He was diagnosed with scleroderma and had to give up his job. But then, Professor Andrew Hart, a plastic surgeon, proposed an idea: a double hand transplant.

The idea sounded funny to Gallagher, who initially thought it was “space-age kind of things.” However, the suggestion led to discussions with his family and Professor Simon Kay, who had successfully completed the same type of procedure back in 2016. After hearing the risks, including the possibility that he could lose his hands, Gallagher decided to go ahead with the surgery.

The operation, which took place in December 2021, involved an extensive team of 30 people and took 12 hours to complete. So far, it’s been a success for Gallagher, who can use his hands more than he could before the procedure. While he can’t do intricate tasks like button shirts, he’s still undergoing physiotherapy. Still, the most significant change for Gallagher is the absence of pain. He went from excruciating pain and using several painkillers to none at all.

Doctors are still monitoring Gallagher, but so far, so good. He hopes to return to work in the future.

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