Philadelphia doctors (40-member transplant team led by Dr. L. Scott Levin) have transplanted donor hands and forearms onto an 8-year-old boy from Baltimore whose own hands were amputated when he was a toddler. The 10-hour operation was performed earlier this month at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This is the first ever double hand transplant on a child.
"The success of Penn's first bilateral hand transplant on an adult, performed in 2011, gave us a foundation to adapt the intricate techniques and coordinated plans required to perform this type of complex procedure on a child," Levin, chairman of the department of orthopaedic surgery at Penn Medicine and director of the hand transplantation program at Children's Hospital, said in a statement. Levin remembers the moment he saw one of Zion's new hands pink up with the blood rushing into it.
"That hand was now alive," he said. "That became, instantly, part of Zion's circulation, no different than my hand or your hand."
Zion lost his hands and his feet when he was 2 to a life-threatening bacterial infection that also led to a kidney transplant.