Zion Harvey will go down in medical history for his success story of the world’s first double hand transplant. The patient was an eight-year-old child who went into complicated surgery two years ago. The procedure lasted 11 hours and needed four teams of doctors working together. The event represented a stepping stone in transplant medicine.
Zion Needed Double Hand Transplant as He Lost His Limbs to Sepsis
On Wednesday, there appeared the very first medical report that revealed more insights in the pioneering treatment that Zion Harvey received and his successful recovery. The experts declared the world’s premiere surgery a success and are optimistic that other children would eventually benefit from such medical advancements in the future.
Zion lost his hands and feet to sepsis when he was only two-year-old. For six years, his only means to carry a somehow independent life was the residual limbs and medical equipment. However, he still had to rely on those around him to help him out with daily occupations.
The double hand transplant was not only risky as it was never done before, but it presented challenges at every step of the way. Even though the operation was successful, the body might have rejected the new limbs. On top of that, the extensive range of medication the boy needed for recovery was a health hazard itself. Despite all odds, the report informs that Zion is at a better quality of life now than he was prior to his surgery.
Doctors Need to Study More This Type of Surgery Before Moving on to Other Children in Need
At 18 months after the event, the little boy can write, feed, dress, and toilet himself. On top of that, he took up his favorite sport, baseball. His regular scans revealed that his brain was quick to integrate the new limbs into the whole system. He learned new pathways that help him control his moves, and he can also feel sensations through them.
On the other hand, scientists need more time to carry on research before taking more cases of children in need of new limbs. They have another source of information from the first successful hand transplant in an adult. The procedure took place in 1998.
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