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Monday, 4 September, 2000, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Hand transplant man 'ready for work'
Mr Kelz's arm
The operation on Mr Kelz's arms took 17 hours
Doctors have said an Austrian policeman who underwent the world's second double hand transplant can return to work.

Theodar Kelz become the second man in the world to undergo the pioneering operation six months ago.

According to a report on Austrian state television, the 45-year-old has now been sent home by doctors and is considering returning to the policeforce.

Mr Kelz underwent a 17-hour operation to graft two hands on to his arms in March at the University Hospital in Innsbruck.

Mr Kelz had been released from hospital in May but was being treated as an out-patient and was required to live near to the hospital in case of complications.

But doctors decided at the weekend that he has made excellent progress and have told the former policeman that he can return to his home in the south of the country.

Mr Kelz lost both his hands in 1994 in a terrorist bomb attack that killed four people and left 12 seriously injured.

The operation on the Austrian was just the second time doctors anywhere in the world had attempted the operation.

World first

The first operation was carried out in January in France and was directed by Dr Jean Michel Dubernard in Lyon.

Austrian doctor Raimund Margreiter, an old friend of Dubernard, said at the time that the operation marked the beginning of "a new era" in double hand transplants.

Doctors in the UK are planning to carry out a similar operation at some point in the future.

Mr Nadey Hakim, a surgeon at St Mary's Hospital in London who has taken part in a hand transplant operation in France, said he will carry out a double operation as soon as a suitable patient is identified.

Doctors in the UK have ruled out a single hand transplant on the grounds that any operation would be of more benefit to a person without any hands.

In May, the New Zealand man who received the world's first hand transplant underwent emergency medical treatment after suspected complications.

Clint Hallam, 49, has received treatment for rejection of the hand but, according to doctors, he is continuing to do well.

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17 Aug 00 | Health
Hand transplant 'a success'
02 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
First hand transplant in doubt
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