Britain's first hand transplant

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

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The world's first hand transplant was carried out in 1998

A Yorkshire man has received the UK's first hand transplant but the world's first operation of this kind was carried out in 1998.

Surgeons in France performed the first hand transplant on Clint Hallam. He later had it removed as he felt "mentally detached" from it.

French surgeon Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard  makes a point near Clint Hallam's bandaged forearm
A French surgeon describes the procedure near Clint Hallam's bandaged forearm Credit: REUTERS/Robert Pratta

Surgeon: Hand transplant patient 'well counselled'

Professor Simon Kay, a consultant plastic surgeon at the Leeds hospital, which has carried out the UK's first hand transplant, has spoken about the support Mark Cahill received prior to the operation.

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Prof Kay: Hand transplant patient was 'well counselled' - listen again... http://t.co/mRuEgLod

Mark Cahill talks about his hand transplant experience

Mark Cahill has become the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant.

The 51-year-old has spoken about his 20 year struggle with gout which led to the lost of his right hand, and the shock of finding out there was a possible donor on Boxing Day.

He also described how his new hand feels and how much he is looking forward to going back to work and being "able to hold my grandson's hand".

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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.

Transplant patient 'looking forward to holding grandson's hand'

A former pub landlord who has become the first UK person to have his hand transplanted says he is looking forward to being able to hold his grandson's hand.

Mark Cahill, 51, of Halifax in West Yorkshire, is looking forward to being able to perform simple tasks, adding that he is grateful to both psychologists who have help him cope, and the family of the donor who made the operation possible.

He said: "For a start I might be able to cut my food up, button a shirt and fasten a pair of shoe laces, and mainly I will be able to hold my grandson's hand.

"I was a pub landlord before this happened, pulling pints. You tend to need two hands for that.

"It's a very big psychological issue having an operation like this. I think I have dealt with it pretty well. The only thing you cannot do is know what's going to happen after the operation. As it's turned out it's brilliant, and I am well happy."

Hand transplant patient lost limb through gout

Mark Cahill, 51, of West Yorkshire, has a new hand following an operation. Credit: ITV News

The hospital said Mr Cahill lost the use of his right hand due to severe gout. Leeds Teaching Hospitals announced in late 2011 that it was looking for potential candidates for hand or arm transplants. The team had been preparing and assessing potential recipients from across the country.

Potential patients went through health checks and psychological assessment before being considered for the procedure. Mr Cahill was part of the programme and was one of two potential candidates when a donated limb became available. He was selected because he was the best tissue match.

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