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Double Hand Transplant Underway At Jewish Hospital

A team of surgeons has begun a double hand transplant at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center.This is the sixth hand transplant operation at the center and the first there to involve two hands. It's also the first to include Twitter updatesfrom just outside the operating suite.        No information has been released about the patient or the donor. The surgical team, led by Dr. Warren Breidenbach, includes doctors from  Kleinert, Kutz and Associates and the University of Louisville.“The patient’s family is very excited about being able to follow the surgery online instead of occasional updates throughout the surgery by hospital personnel. We want others to follow the surgery as well to understand how it all works, identifying and connecting bones, arteries and veins. Our team has already performed five hand transplants over the past eleven years and we have been reconnecting fingers, hands and arms for more than 50 years,” Breidenbach said in a statement.The surgery began about 7:30pm Tuesday and was expected to last some 16 to 20 hours. The transplant is sponsored by the Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research and Office of Army Research.The nation's first hand transplant was performed at Jewish Hospital in 1999.(Illustration courtesy of www.handtransplant.com).

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.