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First for Emory -- Rare hand transplant surgery successfully performed at Emory University Hospital
Date:3/28/2011

ATLANTA Transplant and reconstructive surgeons from Emory University Hospital announced today at a news conference that they have successfully performed a rare complete hand transplant on 21-year-old Linda Lu, a college student from Orlando, Fla. This is a first for the Atlanta Hospital.

The 19-hour surgery took place on Saturday, March 12 and involved multiple teams of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and operating room support staff. Two teams one dedicated to the patient and the other to the donor arm successfully completed the surgery at approximately midnight.

The intricate surgery involved the connection of numerous structures including bones, tendons, nerves, vessels and finally the skin. The patient was placed in a protective splint for 48 hours and is now wearing a high-tech brace that supports the limb while she begins the long process to gain function of her new hand.

Lu is now beginning rehabilitation at Emory and will spend the next three months in Atlanta. At the news conference she said she understands that it will never be a normal hand, but not having a left hand since she was an infant, "I expect it to help in simple everyday activities." She went onto say "right now I am filled with emotions and I don't think that there is really anything that can describe how I fell, other than just happiness, hopefulness and of course thankfulness."

"This is an exciting time for our patient, her family, and the reconstructive community in general. Ms. Lu is doing very well. She is referring to her transplant as 'my hand,'" says Linda Cendales, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. "She is feeling well and has already begun intensive therapy here in Atlanta. She is excited about the possibilities that await her as she continues her progress."

The Emory University-Veterans Affairs Vascularized Composite Allograft (VCA) Program was created in late 2007 with the r
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Contact: Lance Skelly
lance.skelly@emoryhealthcare.org
404-686-8538
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert  

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