surgery doctors transplant slicing 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
For the first time, an Israeli physician sent to Kentucky for professional work
has joined a surgical team to transplant a cadaver arm to a
Dr. Amir Oron, a hand surgery specialist at Kaplan Medical
Center in Rehovot, participated in the 15- hour operation over the weekend at
the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care and Microsurgery Center in
Surgeons consider attaching an arm from a deceased donor the
most challenging type of hand transplant surgery.
The recipient was
56-year-old Ronald Thurman, a farmer from Indiana whose arm was amputated in a
combine accident nine years ago. He received his new right arm from a
22-year-old Texas man who was killed in a traffic accident and whose family
donated his organs.
The arm was flown by jet from Texas to Kentucky while
the two men were tissue typed and preparations were made for
Oron was part of a huge team of 42 hand surgeons from the US and
other countries, headed by Dr. Joseph Kutz.
“Every operation like
this is a challenge of its own,” said the Kaplan physician. “In such a case,
because some of Mr. Thurman’s muscles were weakened during the accident, we had
to transfer muscles originally meant for a different purpose. Before we attached
the donor’s arm, the recipient underwent anti-rejection therapy based on a
number of drugs.”
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In the first stage, the bones are connected, followed
by the arteries so the donor arm does not suffer from ischemia for longer than
Then the nerves, veins, ligaments and skin are
The world’s first arm transplant was performed a few years ago
at the same Kentucky center, where Oron was studying his specialty.
farmer was the eighth patient to undergo such a transplant at Kleinert, but this
was the first time an Israeli hand surgeon participated.
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