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Last Updated:  Friday, 7 March, 2003, 11:52 GMT
World's first double-arm transplant
Franz Jamnig
Mr Jamnig had the operation over two weeks ago
Surgeons in Austria have performed what is believed to be the world's first double forearm and hand transplant operation.

The procedure was carried out on 41-year-old Franz Jamnig at Innsbruck University Clinic on 19 February. Doctors only revealed details of the operation this week.

Mr Jamnig is recovering well from the 14-hour operation, which involved four surgical teams and 25 experts. Doctors had planned the operation for months, while waiting for a donor.

Mr Jamnig, who comes from Austria's southern Carithia province, lost his forearms in a work accident two and a half years ago.

Recovering well

Speaking from his hospital beds, he told journalists the operation had been a success.

"I am feeling very well. It feels as if these are my own hands," he told AFP.

"I'm not asking myself whether these are not somebody else's hands or whether they are beautiful or not. I just hope that they will work."

I am feeling very well. It feels as if these are my own hands
Franz Jamnig
Raimund Magreiter, the head of the surgery department at the clinic, said at the moment Jamnig was suffering from phantom pains in the new limbs but that it was normal.

He said the process of re-educating the limbs began the day after the operation and Mr Jamnig was undergoing three-hour-long physiotherapy sessions daily during which his new fingers were being moved passively.

Doctors have had mixed success with this type of transplant.

In 2001, surgeons in Australia saved the hand of a man left horrifically injured in a train accident by transplanting fingers from his other severed limb.

Two years ago, doctors in London amputated the hand of the man, who had undergone the world's first transplant. He had asked for it to be removed, saying he had no feeling and it was like a dead man's hand.

There have been reports of a small number of successful hand transplant operations in the United States and elsewhere since 2001.


SEE ALSO:
Hand to hand finger transplant
03 Dec 01 |  Health
Brain learns handy tricks
25 Jun 01 |  Science/Nature


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