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Kleinert Kutz Hand Surgeons Perform Fifth U.S. Hand Transplant in Record Time at Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center
Date:11/25/2008

yala Ravindra, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at University of Louisville and Joseph Buell, M.D., director, Jewish Hospital Transplant Center, manage the immunosuppressive therapy for all five hand transplant patients performed at Jewish Hospital.

A hand transplant, unlike a solid organ transplant, involves multiple tissues (skin, muscle, tendon, bone, cartilage, fat, nerves and blood vessels) and is called composite tissue allotransplantation.

"The fifth hand transplant went faster and smoother than any of the other previous four," said Breidenbach. "With each case, as it should be, we learn more about how to do it and what to do. We are thankful for all of our hand transplant patient's pioneering efforts, which help us constantly improve the way we help amputees and reconstruct arm and leg defects."

Breidenbach stated, "With each patient we want to do two things -- improve the way we reconstruct the defect and decrease the amount of the immunosuppressive (anti-rejection) drugs. In the last two we have been able to eliminate two drugs we initially used (steroids). On Mr. Hondusky, we are attempting to only use one drug as the initial treatment."

"Once again this demonstrates the bravery of these pioneering men who are willingly to step into a procedure whose outcome is not fully known. Without these pioneers, patients, amputees and humanity would not make progress," Breidenbach added.

Hondusky received one dose of Campath, an immunosuppressive medication, during surgery and will now be on mono-therapy -- one drug to reduce the risk of rejection. "Mono-therapy has been tried once before in another country and it failed, but we have evidence to suggest that it is possible to achieve this goal," said Ravindra. "We will be monitoring him very closely for signs of rejection with weekly biopsies, other laboratory tests and evaluations as needed."
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SOURCE Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center
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