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Real thing 'better than having a prosthetic limb'

I can see why people with two hands don't understand.

But going from a hand that can't do anything, it doesn't seem unusual. Having a hand that is warm, that feels, that is part of you, is much better than a prosthetic limb.

The future's changed. Now I've got something to look forward to.

– Mark Cahill

Transplant patient enjoying smaller, more freckled hand

The first person in the UK to have a hand transplant has spoken about his progress nearly two months after the operation. 51-year-old Mark Cahill lost the use of his right hand due to severe gout. A new technique meant it could removed in the same operation where a donor hand was also transplanted.

Mark Cahill with his new hand following the operation Credit: ITV News

In an interview with the Radio Times Mr Cahill said he has had no problems accepting the new hand, despite it being smaller, paler and more freckled than the other.

He added: "I've always seen it as my hand, since the moment I woke up after the operation."

He said he also feels that the fingernails have become his own.

"They grow at the same rate on both hands and they've already been cut three times. So whatever it is that makes your nails grow must come from me."

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Britain's first hand transplant operation

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

Mark Cahill had been unable to use his right hand for five years due to severe gout. Now he is looking forward to holding his grandson's hand.

ITV News' Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty reports.

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.

A French surgeon describes the procedure near Clint Hallam's bandaged forearm Credit: REUTERS/Robert Pratta

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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.

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".

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.
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