Hand Transplant History


July 10, 2013
Donnie Rickelman, the Linton, Indiana man who became the seventh recipient of a hand transplant at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, celebrated his second anniversary with a new hand  on July 10, 2013. 
Rickelman returned to Louisville for his regular evaluations with physicians and researchers from the Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft Program team at Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand & Microsurgery, Jewish Hospital and University of Louisville
Richelman said there is nothing he cannot do and is learning to play golf and has been hitting balls at the driving range.   Lead surgeon Dr. Joseph Kutz said, “Donnie’s progress continues to be impressive. He has been very committed to gaining function in his hand and following the advice of his medical team.” “Donnie continues to do remarkably well and we are encouraged by his overall health,” said Co-principal investigator Michael Marvin, M.D.,  Marvin oversees Rickelman’s immunosuppressive drug therapy in collaboration with Rosemary Ouseph, M.D., division of Nephrology, University of Louisville Department of Medicine, by closely monitoring him for signs of rejection and adverse reaction to medications with lab tests and biopsies.  “Donnie’s immunosuppressant medication therapy is ongoing,” said Dr. Ouseph.  “He is responding well and we continue to monitor him for any necessary changes.”
Rickelman, 36, injured both hands in a factory accident in 1998. His right hand was crushed and his left hand was partially amputated below the wrist. 

Ronald Thurman, the eight hand transplant recipient for the Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft Program team at Jewish Hospital, is currently 14 months post-surgery. He is doing very well and has not experienced any rejection episodes since June 2012. He can distinguish between hot and cold sensations, as well as pin points on each finger but can’t determine if it is one pin point or two. In addition, he is able to lift 15 pounds with his right hand and 25 pounds with both hands.

He is actively working on the farm preparing for planting season and driving farm equipment using the gear shift and buttons.  He is practicing his golf swing and recently hit a ball approximately 150 yards.  Mr. Thurman has regained his stamina and endurance and is back to walking two miles daily and carrying his normal load of duties as a farmer.

He continues to do home exercises to improve his strength, dexterity and function.

March 2, 2013

Surgeons at Panzdah Khordad Hospital in Tehran, Iran, performed the first hand transplant in Iran. The recipient was a 37 year old man whose hand had been amputated six years ago in an accident. The operation lasted eight and a half hours. The surgery took place February 27, 2013.

January 4, 2013

Surgeons at Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, United Kingdom, performed a hand amputation and transplant on Mark Cahill, 51. Cahill experienced years of pain in his right hand caused by gout. The hand was paralyzed five years ago due to an infection. The operation took eight hours and involved removing the paralyzed right hand and attaching the new hand. Surgeons at Leeds General Infirmary believe this is the first time both procedures have taken place in the same operation. The surgery took place December 27, 2012.

October 7, 2012

Doctors with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) performed a hand transplant on Joe Kinan, 43, of Lakeville, Mass. Kinan was seriously injured in a club fire in 2003 in Rhode Island that killed 100 and left several hundred severely injured. He suffered severe burns, lost his left hand and has since undergone over 120 surgeries. It was the first hand transplant surgery to take place at MGH in Boston. The surgery took place October 7, 2012.


June 7, 2012

The National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition in Mexico City, Mexico announced the first double arm  transplant in Latin America. The recipient, 52 year-old, Gabriel Granados' arms were amputated below the elbow due to an electrical accident in January 2011. The surgery was in May 2012.


February 15 - 16, 2012

Doctors with Kleinert Kutz and Associates and the University of Louisville performed a hand transplant on Ronald Thurman, a 56-year-old self-employed farmer from Marion, Indiana at Jewish Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health.  Thurman injured his right hand in a farming accident in November 2003 when his hand was caught in combine/auger. His hand was amputated at the wrist. The 15 ½ hour procedure was performed by a team consisting of 24 hand surgeons and two anesthesiologists.


November 1, 2011

Physicians at the University of Pennsylvania announced that a quadruple amputee received a double hand transplant in September 2011. The transplant recipient requested not to be identified, wanting more time to benefit from therapy before speaking with reporters. The surgery team consisted of 30 members who spent 11 1/2 hours working to attach blood vessels, nerves, bone, and soft tissue.


October 14, 2011

Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston announced that they performed a double hand transplant last week. The recipient, Richard Mangino, 65-years-old, lost his arms below the elbows and legs below the knees after contracting sepsis in 2002. The twelve hour surgery included a team of more than 40 surgeons, nurses and support staff.


June 11, 2011

Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston announced that they performed a simultaneous face and double hand transplant on a 57-year-old Connecticut woman in late May.  The woman, who was mauled by a chimp, had to later have the transplanted hands removed due to complications of sepis and pneumonia.  However, the face transplant has remained successful. 


March 28, 2011

Emory University in Atlanta announced that they performed the southeast United States first hand transplant on March 12.  The recipient, a 21-year-old student at Valencia College, lost her left hand at the age of one due to Kawasaki Disease.  The fifteen hour surgery was led by Dr. Linda Cendalas, who was a part of the nations first hand transplant at Jewish Hospital in 1999.


March 24, 2011

Peter Walsh, a 65-year-old man who lost his hands and feet to a bacterial infection, underwent a hand transplant at St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.  His hand transplant is Australia's first.


March 5, 2011

A 26-year-old mother received a hand transplant at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the first hand transplant in the state of California.  She lost her right-hand in a traffic accident five years prior.  The surgery took 14 hours to complete.


October 12, 2010

Carla Mari, a 52-year-old mother of two, had a double hand transplant at San Gerardo hospital in Monza, Italy.  She originally lost both her hands and feet in 2007 as a result of blood poisoning.


September 18, 2010

Sheila Advento became the first woman to receive a double hand transplant at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  The surgery took 12 hours.  Advento's hands were amputated seven years ago because of an infection.  She is the 5th patient to receive the "Pittsburgh Protocol," a therapy that aims to reduce the amount of toxic anti-rejection medicines that transplant recipients take.


September 12, 2010

Doctors at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center transplanted a right hand on a 27-year-old woman.  The woman, who lost her legs and much of her hands at the age of 21 when she suffered from a stomach virus, will undergo an infusion of bone marrow from the donor approximately two weeks after surgery.


August 24-25, 2010

Doctors with Kleinert Kutz and Associates and the University of Louisville performed the nation's third double hand transplant on Dr. Rich Edwards, a 55-year-old chiropractor from Edmond, Oklahoma at Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center.  Edwards' hands were badly burned and non-functionable but surgeons were able to keep some of his original nerves and tissues to attach to the donor hands.  It is the first time a hand transplant of this type has been performed.


February 17, 2010

Doctors at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, performed a hand transplant, transplanting a donor hand from one woman to another.  The patient was the first female, and only the 9th person in the United States, to receive a hand transplant.  It is the first time the procedure has been performed in a Department of Defense facility.


February 5, 2010

Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center performed the nation's second double hand transplant on 41-year-old Chris Pollock from Harrisburg, PA.  Pollock lost his hands in a farming accident.  The surgery took eleven hours and involved three surgical teams totaling nearly 30 people.  Pollock will be the third patient to receive the Pittsburgh Protocol.

July 22, 2009

One year later, Karl Merk, the recipient of the world’s first complete double-hand transplant is said to be making “good progress.” Merk has made progress more quickly than expected—his medical team expected the nerve regret permitting movement to take up to two years, but he has done so in just a year through the use of physiotherapy and electric stimulation. He currently has the ability to wave both of his hands without braces or bandages and hopes to improve enough to pick items up and become more independent. Merk’s surgery in July 2008 took a team of 40 medical professionals 15-hours and was completed at Munich University Clinic.

June 8, 2009

During a follow-up operation to treat an infection, the 30-year-old burn victim who received the world’s first double-hand and face transplant at Henri Mondor Hospital in the Paris suburb of Creteil, died of cardiac arrest. The face and double-hand transplant, which took place on April 4, 2009, took 30-hours and a team of 40 medical professionals.

May 4, 2009

On May 4, 2009, a team of 10 surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center performed the nation's first double hand transplant on 57-year-old, Jeff Kepner of Augusta, Georgia.

The procedure was expected to last 20 hours, but only took nine.

April 16, 2009 Dave Armstrong, the 4th person in the United States to receive a hand transplant, had his transplanted hand removed after complications developed.  Armstrong's transplant occurred on July 18, 2008. 

April 4 - 6, 2009

A 30-year old burn victim received a simultaneous hand and face transplant at Henri Mondor Hospital in the Paris suburb of Creteil. The procedure took over 30 hours to complete and involved a partial face transplant and a double hand transplant. While this is the sixth partial face transplant in the world, it is the first done simultaneously with a hand transplant. 

March 14 - 15, 2009

A team of surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center performed a hand transplant on March 14-15 on an unidentified, 24-year-old male, Marine who was hurt in a training accident. The team was led by Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee. The patient also underwent bone marrow infusion to reduce the need for traditional anti-rejection drugs. Prior to the surgery, the patient received antibodies to help overcome the immune response and was treated with tacrolimus. The three post-transplant steps are known as the Pittsburgh Protocol. This is the sixth hand transplant  performed in the United States. 

November 24, 2008

Kleinert Kutz and University of Louisville hand surgeons performed the fifth U.S. hand transplant on Massena, New York resident, Jan “Erik” Hondusky, at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center on Monday, November 24. The innovative procedure began around noon and was completed shortly after 9 p.m. in a record nine hours.
“The fifth hand transplant went faster and smoother than any of the other previous four,” said lead hand transplant surgeon Warren Breidenbach, M.D. “With each case, as it should be, we learn more about how to do it and what to do. We are thankful for all of our hand transplant patients’ pioneering efforts, which help us constantly improve the way we help amputees and reconstruct arm and leg defects.”
Breidenbach stated, “With each patient we want to do two things -- improve the way we reconstruct the defect and decrease the amount of the immunosuppressive (anti-rejection) drugs. In the last two we have been able to eliminate two drugs we initially used (steroids). On Mr. Hondusky, we are attempting to only use one drug as the initial treatment.”

July 12, 2008

Dave Robert Armstrong, a 32-year-old Upland, California man joined an elite group of men around the world by receiving a hand transplant on July 12, 2008. The surgery was performed at Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center by Kleinert Kutz and University of Louisville hand surgeons.
The 14 hour procedure, which began at approximately 2:08 a.m. (EDT) today, involved a six-member hand surgical team, with 12 hand fellows assisting and a two-member anesthesiology team. Lead hand transplant surgeon Warren Breidenbach, M.D. said, “This has been the smoothest hand transplant we have performed. We cannot control the amount of damage when an accident happens, but in Mr. Armstrong’s case we had very good muscles to work with. They were not as badly scared as the previous three cases.”

July, 2008

The world’s first double arm transplant was conducted in Munich, Germany. Doctors spent 15 hours grafting the arms onto the body of a 54-year-old man.

November 29, 2006

David F. Savage, a 54-year-old Bay City, Michigan resident, joined a group of select men to become the nation’s third hand transplant recipient on November 29, 2006. A special news conference was held today (Nov. 30) at 11 a.m. (EST), to announce the completion of another landmark hand transplant surgery. The procedure, which began at approximately 3:10 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, November 29, lasted 15 hours and involved a 34-member hand surgical team and a five-member anesthesiology team.

February 14, 2005

Matt Scott, the world’s first successful hand transplant recipient, underwent evaluations on February 10-11 for his six-year check up with a number of physicians including lead hand surgeon Warren C. Breidenbach, M.D., Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, and lead transplant surgeon Frederick R. Bentley, M.D., University of Louisville.
Dr. Breidenbach said Scott has shown “a big improvement in his hand function and a stronger thumb.” Scott attributed this to using it everyday. He can use his transplanted hand for everyday living activities including throwing and catching a ball, opening doors, turning doorknobs, drinking from a glass, dialing a cell phone, writing his name and tying his shoes. At this time, his pinch and strength were better, along with improvement in sensation. Scott had hot and cold sensation in his hand and determined rough or smooth and sharp or blunt textures.
A biopsy was also performed by Dr. Bentley, which showed no signs of rejection.

January 23, 2004

Matt Scott, the world's first successful hand transplant recipient, reached a major milestone in January 2004 when he celebrated the five-year anniversary of undergoing the innovative transplant procedure. Scott was in Louisville for his yearly check-up January 22-23.
Scott and his physicians reported improved motion of the thumb and being able to pinch together the tip of his thumb and front of his index finger. "He has exceeded our expectations," said lead hand surgeon Warren C. Breidenbach, M.D., Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center. Breidenbach also reported that tests showed a slight improvement in Scott's ability to distinguish the sensation caused by two separate points touching a finger. Transplant surgeon Frederick R. Bentley, M.D., University of Louisville, said, "The big surprise to me is that he really has no significant complications and only minimal side effects." Bentley managed Scott's immunosuppressive drug therapy.
Scott's hand transplant was one of the 24 hands transplanted on 18 patients around the world including France, Brussels, Italy, Austria and China.

February 14, 2003

Matthew Scott, the world's first successful hand transplant recipient, and Jerry Fisher, the nation's second recipient celebrated their four and two year anniversaries, respectively, with a trip to Jewish Hospital for their yearly check-ups. Appearing confident and happy, the two men answered media questions at a Feb. 14 press conference.
“I feel fantastic,” said Scott. “I am four years out from the surgery and still gaining function.” At this time, he was able to perform everyday living activities including dialing a telephone, tying his shoes and opening doors along with picking up small fine objects. Scott enjoys plays catch with his sons Jeremy and Ian and holding his wife, Dawn’s, hand.
“With function, I shoot for the moon. I have much better speed in doing things with two hands and can catch things before they fall,” said Fisher. He used his transplanted hand for daily use and function such as turning pages of a newspaper, opening cabinet doors and is able to carry 20 pounds with his transplanted hand. Fisher is married and has three boys -- wife, Sonya and sons, David, Zachary, and Nicholas.

April 3, 2002

Matthew Scott, the world's first successful hand transplant underwent a minor surgical procedure for scar revision of the arm today. The surgery was performed by lead hand transplant surgeon Warren C. Breidenbach, M.D., Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC in the new Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center.

February 22, 2002

Matthew Scott, the world's first successful hand transplant recipient, and Jerry Fisher, the nation's second recipient, today provided a glimpse of how the hand transplant procedure has changed their lives. Appearing confident and happy, the two men answered media questions at a Jewish Hospital press briefing following their yearly check-ups.
In discussing Scott and Fisher's progress, Dr. Warren Breidenbach said, "Both have done excellent and have achieved great results. I am impressed with the speed of how Matt can use his hand in grasping and turning objects.” According to Dr. Granger, "Both patients received biopsies today and while results are not yet back, their hands show no visual sign of rejection and look very nice. Matt has only had three rejection episodes in the first six months, which were expected. He has not had a rejection episode for the past 30 months, which is excellent. Jerry continues to have mild rejection episodes, but at the same time continues to improve his function. The rejection is controlled by medication."

January, 2002 A single hand transplant was performed in Brussels, Belgium.
October, 2001 A single hand transplant was performed in Milan, Italy.

November 13, 2001

Gerald Fisher, the nation's second recipient of a hand transplant, returned to Jewish Hospital in Louisville for a routine nine-month check up by his physicians at Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center and University of Louisville. At this time, Fisher had sensation in the fingertips which meant regrowth of nerve fibers had taken place. When tapped on the fingertips, he had a tingling sensation, which is a sign of recovery. He also had sensation in the palm and back of his hand. Fisher's range of motion remianed the same as it was at three months, but his flexion or bending of all four fingers had improved. His forearm and wrist motions also improved which made picking up larger objects easier. Fisher continued to have frequent episodes of mild rejection, which were controlled by topical medication. The swelling of the hand and arm was resolved even though his is taking less medication.

May 17, 2001

Jerry Fisher, the second person in the United States to receive a hand transplant, returned home to Jackson, Michigan. Fisher was in Louisville for the past three months for intensive hand therapy following his experimental hand transplant performed February 16-17 at Jewish Hospital by surgeons from Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC, and University of Louisville.
Surgeons were extremely pleased with his progress. Fisher’s function continued to improve. At the time, he had great pinch and grip strength, and was ahead of the schedule his doctors anticipated. He returned to work and resumed a normal life while continuing his hand therapy sessions at the University of Michigan two-days-a-week. Fisher gained the ability to perform tasks at a faster pace and with more accuracy after three months of hand therapy in Louisville. He could toss a ball, demonstrate good wrist motion to use a paddleball, tie and untie his shoes, drink from a glass, lift and carry a 35-pound crate and hold his seven month old son.

April 21, 2001

Matthew Scott and Jerry Fisher served as official "Thundernators" at the Kentucky Derby Festival pyrotechnic show "Thunder Over Louisville" by pushing the yellow "fire" buttons that triggered the detonation of the largest fireworks event in the United States. Both Scott and Fisher’s injuries were caused by firework accidents. They accepted the honor to reinforce the message that fireworks should be left to the professionals.

April 19, 2001

Matthew Scott and Jerry Fisher, the first and second individuals in the United States to receive a hand transplant met for the first time face to face at Jewish Hospital in a long anticipated meeting. The two men clasped their new left hands together in a firm handshake within minutes upon meeting. Both men expressed sincere appreciation to the other for the mutual support that they have offered each other since Jerry received his transplanted hand in February 2001. Matt became the first recipient in January 1999.

February 17, 2001

Jerry Fisher, a 36-year-old Jackson, Michigan resident, became the nation's second hand transplant recipient following a 13-hour procedure, February 16-17 at Jewish Hospital. The surgical team was led by Warren C. Breidenbach, III, M.D., Kleinert, Kutz and Associates and assistant clinical professor of surgery at the University of Louisville. Darla K. Granger, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville, managed the immunosuppressive therapy for Fisher.

January 26, 2001

The nation's first successful hand transplant recipient, Matthew Scott, "graduated with flying colors," said hand surgeon, Warren C. Breidenbach, III, M.D., following his two-year 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 landmark procedure. He continued to have therapy twice a week to gain additional function in his new left hand. Matt's biospy showed no signs of rejection and he has not had a rejection episode in the past 17 months. "During Matt's exam yesterday, he demonstrated increased sensitivity and increased motor function," explained Dr. Breidenbach. "We couldn't be more pleased with Matt's function and sensory results. It may be five years or more before we know the full extent of Matt's function."

January, 2001 A double hand transplant was performed in Harbin, China.
October, 2000 Professor Marco Lanzetta led a team of surgeons to perform a 15-hour single hand transplant, in Monza, Italy. Valter Visigalli, a 35-year-old patient received the transplant for his right hand. Professor Lanzetta was also part of the world’s first hand transplant team in Lyon, France.
September, 2000 A double hand transplant was performed in Guangzhou, China.

May 18-19, 2000

Physicians and researchers from around the globe convened at Jewish Hospital during the Second International Symposium on Composite Tissue Allotransplantation (CTA ¬ multiple tissue transplant) May 18-19. CTA discussions during the symposium included the hand, larynx, bone, muscle, nerve, tendon, vein and skin. Over 130 attended the two-day symposium sponsored by Jewish Hospital, University of Louisville, and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC.
Highlights of the symposium included presentations by the three surgeons responsible for five of the six hand transplants performed around the world: Warren C. Breidenbach, III, M.D., Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC, who performed the United States' first hand transplant; Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard, Hopital Edouard Herriot, Lyon, France, who performed the world's first single and double hand transplants; and Guoxian Pei, M.D., Ph.D., The First Military Medical University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China, who performed China's first hand transplants.
The symposium also included presentations by the world's first larynx transplant recipient, Timothy Heidler, and the nation's first hand transplant recipient, Matthew Scott. Other CTA presentations/discussions included Marshall Strome, M.D., Cleveland Clinic, who performed the world's first larynx transplant; Gunther O. Hofmann, M.D., Ph.D., Munich, Germany, who performed several knee/femur transplants; and J. C. Guimbertau, M.D., France, who performed tendon allotransplantation. Ethical considerations in allotransplantation were also presented. Other integral parts of the symposium explored clinical research in immunology therapies, rejection, chimerism, tolerance, new drugs and various research animal models.

May 18, 2000 The world’s first arm and hand transplant took place in Malaysia on a one-month-old baby girl named Chong Lih Ying who was born with a severely deformed left arm. A team of physicians, led by Dr. V. Pathmanathan, performed the operation at Selayang Hospital.  Her donor was her identical twin sister, who died when they were born. Since Chong received the limb from her identical sister, there was no need for her to take anti-rejection drugs.
March 8, 2000 A team of 18 surgeons performed the second double hand transplant in the world at the University Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria during a 17-hour surgery. Theo Kelz, a 45-year-old policeman from Carinthia, Austria was the recipient the transplant. A pipe bomb explosion in August of 1994 caused Kelz to lose both of his hands. Two teams worked simultaneously on both hands during the procedure. Raimund Margreiter, MD, a transplant and oncology surgeon headed the team. 

January 25, 2000

The one-year anniversary of the nation's first hand transplant was celebrated at the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart & Lung center on January 25. Matthew Scott underwent a check-up and evaluations at Jewish Hospital and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center. Results from tests, comments from all professionals involved, and the patient himself, confirmed that the outcome was most successful. At the time, Scott was able to open doors, hold a glass, tie his shoes, write his name and use his new left hand for everyday living activities. Warren C. Breidenbach, III, MD, lead hand transplant surgeon, said he does not believe Scott will need additional surgery, but will be evaluated again in six months. A biopsy showed no signs of rejection. Scott continued therapy three days a week at Heartland Rehabilitation, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

January 12, 2000 A team of surgeons led by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard performed the world’s first double hand transplant. The 50-member surgical team performed the 17-hour operation on January 12, 2000 at Hospital Edouard in Lyon, France. The patient, Denis Chatelier, was a 33-year-old house painter and father of two, whose hands were blown off when a home-made model rocket exploded prematurely. Chatelier’s operation was the first in a series of five double hand transplants that France used to decide whether the transplantation of limbs and other external multi-tissue organs will become commonplace there.
January, 2000 Two single hand transplants were performed in Guazgxi, China.
September 21, 1999 Two single hand transplants were performed in China on a 39-year-old male and a 27-year-old male at the same time. The surgeries were performed by Guoxian Pei, M.D., Ph.D, Liqian Gu, M.D., Ph.D., and Xiaofei Zhen, M.D. at the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Nanfang Hospital, Guangzhou, Peoples Republic of China.

July 30-31, 1999

Matt Scott returned to Louisville for a six-month check up following the hand transplant surgery. Laboratory tests along with a biopsy were performed. Scott was also evaluated by a team of surgeons from Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center. The possibility of future surgery to gain more function and mobility was discussed by a team.

June 11, 1999

A press briefing was held with hand surgeon Warren Breidenbach III, MD, Dr. Elliot Ames and therapist Anne Hodges discussing the hot and cold sensation Matthew Scott felt in the transplanted hand.

June 1, 1999

One month after returning to Absecon, New Jersey, Matthew Scott the nation's first hand transplant patient, returned to work.

April 28, 1999

Hand transplant recipient Matthew Scott returned home and resumed family life after a three month stay in Louisville, Kentucky.

April 12, 1999

Matthew Scott threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Philadelphia Phillies opening day game with his new left hand.

January 25, 1999

Matthew Scott became the first hand transplant patient when he receives a new left hand.

September 28, 1998

A hand transplant was performed on New Zealander, Clint Hallam, in Lyon, France. Jean-Michel Dubernard, M.D. led a group of doctors flown in from around the world to perform the 13-hour procedure. Surgeons in Britain later amputated the hand on February 2, 2001 in a London hospital at the patient’s request. It was reported the patient failed to follow the correct anti-rejection treatment and physical therapy prescribed by his physicians.


September, 1998

Proceedings of the International Symposium on Composite Tissue Allotransplantation held November 19-20, 1997 in Louisville, Kentucky published in Transplantation Proceedings September Issue, Vol 30, No. 6. Guest Editors, John H. Barker, Jon Jones, and Warren C. Breidenbach.

July, 1998

Ethics paper prepared for submission to national scientific journal publication.
"CSA Stimulates Proliferation of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells (VSMC) and Enhances Monocyte (MN) Adhesion to VSMC" presented by Jon Jones at the 17th World Congress of the Transplant Society, Montreal, Canada.
"Radio Forearm Osteomyocutanious Flap as a CTA Model in Swine" presented by Jon Jones at the international Society for Experimental Microsurgery Meeting, London, Ontario, Canada.
Media debriefing highlighted the research involved for the world's first human hand transplant presented by Drs. Gordon Tobin, John Barker, Jon Jones, and Warren Breidenbach.

June, 1998

Protocol for human hand transplant was approved by the University of Louisville Human Studies Committee and Jewish Hospital Institutional Review Board.

May, 1998

The "Large Animal Model" study was presented at the American Society for Transplant Surgeons Meeting in Chicago, IL.
"Composite Tissue Allotransplantation - Concept on Hand Transplants" was the keynote presentation at the International Federation for Societies for Surgery of the Hand Congress, Vancouver, Canada. Speakers include: Warren Breidenbach and Jon Jones.
The Vancouver Sun ran a front page article featuring research efforts on hand transplantation and the expectation that it could occur within the year in the United States.
BBC Radio broadcasts an interview with Dr. Breidenbach around the world.
Canadian Broadcast aired the National Public Radio interviewed Dr. Breidenbach regarding the hand transplant. It was transmitted to Canada and select United States cities.
www.handtransplant.com "live" on the Internet.

January -
May, 1998

Protocol for human transplant was established and includes informed consent, patient selection and criteria, operative procedure, postoperative monitoring, rehab, and immunosuppression.

November, 1997

Courier-Journal ran a front page article on the upcoming International Symposium on Composite Tissue Allotransplantation exploring the feasibility of hand transplantation.
International Symposium on Composite Tissue Allotransplantation hosted by the Jewish Hospital Foundation was held with 17 experts in the field of immunology, transplantation surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery and medical ethics.
A Courier-Journal article reported hand transplants were seen as possible and ethical and experts encourage surgeons to find suitable patient. WHAS-TV and WAVE-TV featured interviews on the success of the Symposium research efforts on hand transplantation.
Research focused on large animal study with composite tissue allotransplantation with and without immunosuppression.

July, 1997

Courier-Journal ran a front page article focused on clinical hand transplant research efforts.

January, 1997

Research begins on the following projects:

  • Effect of Cryopreservation on tissue preservation and allogenicity
  • Epidemiologic study on hand transplantation - risk/benefit analysis
  • Local perfusion

March, 1996

Collaborative Research Partnership was established, which includes the University of Louisville Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Kleinert, Kutz and Associates and Jewish Hospital to coordinate research projects and combine resources.

Early 1980's The survival rates of transplanted organs climbed thanks to the introduction of the drug cyclosporine, which prevents rejection of transplanted organs by suppressing the body's immune system. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing’s 1996 report, one year survival rates for liver transplants averaged about 70 percent; heart 82 percent; lung 71 percent; kidney 81 percent (kidney, living donor 91 percent); pancreas 74 percent.
1964 A hand transplant was attempted in 1964 in South America. The patient was given what by today's standard would be primitive immunosuppressive agents. The hand transplant was rejected within two weeks. There was little immunologic testing or follow-up to allow an appropriate gain of information from the experience.



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