Hand transplant for Halifax man

A man from Halifax has become the first person to have a hand transplant in the UK.

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UK's first hand transplant

A grandfather from West Yorkshire has made history by becoming the first person in the UK to have his hand replaced in a pioneering transplant operation.

Mark Cahill's right hand was removed and a donor one attached during the operation at Leeds General Infirmary just two days after Christmas. The intricate procedure lasted eight hours and will transform his life.

He can't wait to hold his grandson's hand and get back to work - guess what his old job was - pulling pints in a pub.

David Hirst reports.


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A history of successful hand transplants

A 51-year-old man from West Yorkshire has become the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant.

Mark Cahill had the operation on the 27 December and doctors have said he is making "good progress".

  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals announced in late 2011 that it was starting to look for potential candidates for hand or arm transplants.
  • The UK team has been working closely with colleagues in Lyon, France, where hand transplants were pioneered in 1998.
  • A new technique meant Mr Cahill could have his non-functioning right hand removed in operation where a donor hand was also transplanted.
  • The first-ever recipient in France was New Zealander Clint Hallam, who later had his new hand removed as he felt "mentally detached" from it.
  • Doctors in the United States, Austria and France have carried out a number of successful hand transplants.


Pioneering techniques used for Halifax man's hand transplant

Prof Simon Kay with patient Mark Cahill

A 51-year-old man from Halifax has become the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant.

Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) said Mark Cahill underwent the complex, eight hour-long procedure on December 27 when a donor hand became available.

They said a new technique was used which involved Mr Cahill, from Greetland, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, 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.

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