Mayo Clinic has initiated the first clinical Hand Transplant Program in the United States and is now enrolling patients. This program offers hand transplantation as a clinically available option for patients with bilateral hand injuries or amputations. This allows patients to embark on this option of reconstructive surgery without being required to enroll in experimental trials.

Hand transplantation is a complex surgery involving attachment of a hand and arm from a donor to a recipient. The procedure involves the reattachment of skin, bone, muscles, nerves, tendons and blood vessels. People in good health who have lost both hands due to trauma may be candidates for hand transplantation in this program. Mayo's Hand Transplant Program will initially treat patients with bilateral injuries or amputations.

"Mayo Clinic has extensive experience and national recognition with transplantation and hand surgery," says Steven L. Moran, M.D., Mayo Clinic plastic surgeon and the program's co-director. "This, coupled with one of the strongest rehabilitation programs in the country, is one of the many reasons Mayo has embarked on this endeavor to help people who have suffered the traumatic loss of their hands."

As with all transplants, there is an extensive evaluation process for potential hand transplant patients, which involves physical assessments, blood tests, X-rays, a psychiatric consultation and other tests as needed. Patients will be treated with standard immunosuppression and will be offered the option of participating in clinical research.

"Our hand transplant program highlights the integrative approach that is inherent in the Mayo Clinic Model of Care, bringing together specialists representing a number of areas," says Hatem Amer, M.D., Mayo Clinic transplant nephrologist and the other co-director. "Our team of caregivers are from Hand and Micro Surgery, Transplant Medicine, Rehabilitation, Immunology, Psychiatry, Neurology, Transplant Infectious Disease and Nursing, to name a few."

Mayo Clinic

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