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Penn Medicine Establishes Hand Transplant Program
Date:12/17/2010

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Penn Transplant Institute, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Division of Plastic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) have collaborated to form the Penn Hand Transplant Program. The Program will operate under the leadership of the Penn Transplant Institute and in collaboration with the Gift of Life Donor Program, the nonprofit organ and tissue donor program which serves the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.

The Penn Hand Transplant Program is headed by L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, Paul B. Magnuson Professor of Bone and Joint Surgery, Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Professor of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery and Abraham Shaked, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Surgery and Director of the Penn Transplant Institute.

In contrast to the requirement of identifying a solid organ donor, selecting a donor for hand transplants involves additional matching criteria such as gender, ethnicity, race, skin color and tone and size. "Hand transplantation raises difficult and novel ethical challenges. Respect for donors and their families, the selection of recipients and the commitment to informed consent are all essential," said Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., Director of the Penn Center for Bioethics. "Penn's program has engaged these thorny questions in a careful, deliberate and thoughtful manner so as to try and insure that transplant candidates receive the best and most comprehensive care available anywhere."

The first two patients slated to receive bi-lateral hand transplants at HUP have undergone extensive medical screenings and evaluations. It is hoped that the first transplant will be performed sometime in the coming year.

The Penn Hand Transplant Program will only perform bi-lateral transplants. "People who have lost one arm can function fairly well doing every day tasks and beyond. Many single-arm amputees don't
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SOURCE Hospital of University of Pennsylvania
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