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Vietnam successfully performs world’s first limb transplant from live donor

Central Military Hospital (Amenoc/WikiCommons)
February 25, 2020

Doctors at the Central Military Hospital 108 performed the operation, opening up new opportunities for treating patients with damaged limbs, said doctor Mai Hong Bang, director of the hospital.

The surgery was conducted on January 21 this year.

The patient receiving the limb was Pham Van Vuong, 31, from Thanh Tri District in Hanoi.

Vuong suffered an accident at work in 2016. His left hand and about one third of his arm were irreparably damaged and doctors had to amputate it.

At the beginning of this year, the Central Military Hospital 108 received another serious case.

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The victim also suffered a work accident that damaged his upper left arm, near the armpit.

After three weeks of treatment, doctors were unable to save the patient’s arm and decided to amputate it. However, the patient’s left hand was still intact and could be transplanted.

The victim, who remains anonymous, and his family had agreed to donate the hand to Vuong as a humane gesture.

Since Vuong’s hand is already undergoing multiple infections and necrosis, the transplanted body part might also face infections, but the doctors said that they have taken all considerations and decided to go ahead with the operation.

The surgery, which took eight hours, was conducted by professor Nguyen The Hoang, deputy director of the hospital, and his colleagues.

Now, more than a month after the operation, Vuong is able to use his left hand to hold things, such as a table tennis ball.

Vuong still needs to undergo more physical therapy sessions to improve his range of movement.

Professor Hoang expects that after six months to a year of therapy, the patient will have made a full recovery.

Vuong said that he fell into a deep state of depression when he lost his left hand and only recovered thanks to the support of his family.

He extended his gratitude to the doctors and especially the donor who helped him return to a normal life.

The hospital said that since 1998, about 89 limb transplants – a highly sophisticated microvascular surgery technique – have been performed worldwide. All were from brain dead donors, however.

In Southeast Asia, no limb transplants from live donors have been performed before.

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© 2020 the Asia News Network