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Third Successful Hand Transplant Accomplished at United States

A Michigan man is the third lucky man to have his hand transplanted successfully at US by a team of Louisville doctors. //

The medical team consisted of doctors from Jewish hospital, the University of Louisville, St. Mary’s HealthCare, and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center who conducted a long surgery from 3.10 pm on Wednesday to 6.11 am on Thursday.

The recipient is David F. Savage, 54, of Bay City in Mich. He was working as a production supervisor for Means Industries near Saginaw. 32 years ago in a work related accident he injured his hand which was later amputated and was replaced by a cable hook prosthetic.

Difficulties faced

After Mr. Savage decided to get a hand transplant, he had to wait for six years, which included three years in litigation with his insurance company and another three years on the waiting list of the transplant.

Thus because of the delay doctors found the transplant difficult, as the blood vessels tend to shrink if not utilized over such a long span.

"It's like closing down your house for 32 years, then deciding to go back in and take a shower. You turn it on, it sputters a little bit, and then it works," said the lead surgeon, Dr. Warren Breidenbach.

Past Success Stories

The first two successful transplants were done at Jewish Hospital on Matt Scott and Jerry Fisher in 1999 and 2001.

However the first attempt to hand transplant in France in 1998 was not a success, and it was ultimately amputated in 2001.

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