The Thing With Two Arms

Farmer has double arm transplant

German doctors have carried out a complete double arm transplant. The patient was a 54-year-old farmer who lost his limbs in an accident six years ago. The donor is believed to be a teenager who had died shortly before the surgery.

The patient cannot move his new arms but doctors hope his network of nerves will expand at a pace of around one millimetre (0.04 inches) per day. Even if that happens, it could still be two years before the patient can manipulate his new hands.

UK transplant expert Nadey Hakim, head of the transplant unit at London's Hammersmith Hospital, said the higher up an amputation on the arms, the easier it was to connect new limbs, as there were fewer nerves and only one bone to connect. But he added: "It is going to be quite difficult to get any sensation. The higher it is, the harder it is Flexing and bending the arm is also going to be hard. He is going to require intensive physiotherapy every day for many months."


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