Health

Scleroderma patient undergoes “world first” double hand transplant

A man whose hands were left useless due to scleroderma has given birth to life after being considered the world’s first double-handed transplant for this condition.

Stephen Gallagher, 48, has been diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that causes scars on the skin and internal organs after developing an unusual rash on the cheeks and nose and pain in the right hand about 13 years ago.

Doctors initially said it may be lupus erythematosus, then considered it to be carpal tunnel syndrome and he underwent surgery, but when the pain returned in both arms, he was referred to a specialist who confirmed that he had scleroderma.

The condition affected areas, including the nose, mouth, and hands, and about seven years ago, the fingers began to curl until they were in a fist position, causing “terrible” pain.

Mr. Gallagher can now use his phone (Jane Barlow / PA)

When experts suggested the idea of ​​a double hand transplant, the father of three initially rejected the idea but then decided to continue despite the risks.

He told the PA News Agency: “My hands started to close, I got to the point where it was basically two fists, my hands were useless, I could not do anything except lift things with both hands.

“I could not catch anything, I got dressed and something like that was a fight.

“When Prof. Hart in Glasgow Tell me about the double hand transplant, then I smiled and thought it’s something of a cosmic age, but after thinking about it for a while I talked more to Professor Hart and got down Leeds And spoke to Professor Kay.

“They really understood and were open about what could have happened if I lost my hands altogether, they said it was unlikely, but it was a risk.


These hands are amazing, everything happened so fast. From the moment I woke up from the operation I could move them

Stephen Gallagher

“My wife and I talked about it and agreed to leave. I could have lost my hands anyway, so I just had to let them know I was going to leave. “

Mr. Gallagher, of Dragorn Northern AirMust undergo a psychological evaluation to make sure he or she is ready for a transplant prospect.

He then underwent a 12-hour operation in mid-December 2021, after finding a suitable donor.

The Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust hand transplant team, which conducted the operation, said this is the first time in the world that a hand transplant has been used to replace hands terminally affected by scleroderma.

Mr Gallagher said: “I woke up after the operation and it was quite surreal because I had my hands before and when I woke up from the operation I had my hands again so I would never lose my hands in my head.

“These hands are amazing, everything happened so fast. I could move them from the moment I woke up from the operation. “

He added: “It gave me new life. Even now things are difficult for me, but everything gets better every week with the physicist and the occupational therapists, everything is slowly getting better.

“Pain is the main thing. The pain before the operation was terrible, I was in so much pain, it was unbelievable, but now it does not hurt at all.”

Mr. Gallagher, who has three daughters, ages 12, 24 and 27, spent about four weeks Leeds General Hospital After surgery and has regular visits to Glasgow hospitals for physiotherapy and monitoring.

More than five months after the operation, his condition improves, and although he is unable to perform tasks that require great skill, such as pushing buttons, he can do things like stroke the dog, turn on the faucet, and fill a glass with water.

The 48-year-old worked as a roof cleaner and was appointed Assistant Contract Manager, but had to quit his job due to his condition.

She now hopes to return to any kind of work after her hands have improved enough and is very grateful to the donor person and family who made the transplant possible.

A 30-member team of professionals from many disciplines took part in the operation.

Simon Kay, a professor at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This operation was a huge team effort by bringing our colleagues to Lead and Glasgow.

“Hand transplantation is very different from kidney or other organ transplantation, because the hands are what we see every day and we use them in many ways.

“For this reason, we and our expert clinical psychologists evaluate and train patients to ensure that they are able to cope psychologically with the constant reminder of a transplant and the risk that the body may reject transplanted hands.

Scleroderma patient undergoes “world first” double hand transplant

Source link Scleroderma patient undergoes “world first” double hand transplant

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