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News Releases

Nations First Successful Hand Transplant Recipient Graduates with Flying Colors Following Two-Year Check-Up

For Immediate Release: 1/26/2001

(Louisville, Kentucky) The nation's first successful hand transplant recipient, Matthew Scott, “graduated with flying colors” said lead hand transplant surgeon, Warren C. Breidenbach , M.D. following his check-up. Scott underwent a series of evaluations and tests January 25-26 at Jewish Hospital and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center marking the two-year anniversary of the innovative experimental procedure.

His wife, Dawn and sons, Ian age 9 and Jeremy age 4 accompanied Matt to Louisville for the check-up. “I am far better than what I was two years ago with a prosthesis,” says Matt at a press briefing held January 26 at Jewish Hospital. He continues to have therapy twice a week to gain additional function in his new left hand.

Evaluations by physicians during Scott's visit included a biopsy, nerve conduction analysis, physical therapy and orthotics assessment, and other laboratory tests. Darla K. Granger reported, “Matt's biospy showed no signs of rejection and he has not had a rejection episode in the past 17 months. Three episodes were reported following surgery, which were expected and treated with medication. Matt medication dosage has been lowered, but will remain on the anti-rejection drugs for the life of the hand transplant.”

Dr. Breidenbach said, “We know we can successfully transplant a hand and control the immunosuppressive drugs and during Matt's exam yesterday, he demonstrated increased sensitivity and increased motor function. We couldn't be more pleased with Matt's function and sensory results. With a score of zero to 100, zero being the absence of a hand, 100 being a normal hand, a prosthesis being 20-25, Matt's scores a 55 with function and sensory activities. It is encouraging that his hand continues to improve. We are going to keep our fingers crossed.” Dr. Breidenbach added, “It maybe five years before we know how well Matt's function will get. Based on a replanted hand, it is normal for one to continue to gain hand function for five years following surgery.”

Hand therapist Anne Hodges

Scott received his new left hand January 24-25, 1999, when surgeons from the University of Louisville and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC, performed the 15-hour procedure at Jewish Hospital. The hand transplant team is prepared to perform another transplant and currently has a candidate listed with Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. The hand transplant procedure is expected to greatly impact the future of transplantation and reconstructive surgery. The Louisville hand transplant program was developed through a partnership with physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC.

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Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare Kleinert Institute Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center University of Louisville School of Medicine