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Dad's joy after successful pioneering hand transplant

A BRAVE dad-of-one is recovering after undergoing a hand transplant.

Mark Cahill (51) underwent the complex, eight-hour procedure on December 27 when a donor hand became available.

Doctors said a new technique was used which involved Mr Cahill having his non-functioning right hand removed during the same operation as the donor hand was transplanted.

This procedure allowed very accurate restoration of nerve structures and is believed to be the first time this approach has been used, surgeons said.

"When I look at it and move it, it just feels like my hand," Mr Cahill said.

"Right now it feels really good, it's not a lot of pain, it looks good, it looks a great match and I'm looking forward to getting it working now."

Consultant plastic surgeon Professor Simon Kay, who led the surgical team at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) in England, said: "This operation is the culmination of a great deal of planning and preparation over the last two years by a team including plastic surgery, transplant medicine and surgery, immunology, psychology, rehabilitation medicine, pharmacy and many other disciplines.

"It is still early days but indications are good and the patient is making good progress."

Mr Cahill, from Greetland, West Yorkshire, became the first person in England to have a hand transplant.

The hospital said he lost the use of his right hand due to severe gout.

hnews@herald.ie