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Term / Hand Transplant

Transplantation of solid organs has become the standard of care for many life threatening medical conditions. The relatively new field of hand transplantation requires the transplantation of multiple tissues, including skin, muscles, tendons, bone and nerves. The ability to transplant multiple tissues for the reconstruction of lost and damaged parts of the body is called composite (multiple) tissue allotransplantation (from a donor), or CTA.

CTA promises to be a revolutionary advance in reconstructive surgery, affording a perfect “replacement part” for tissues damaged or destroyed by disease or trauma. These techniques have been applied to the hand, face, abdominal wall, larynx and other body parts. Transplantation offers hope to those who suffer from severe disfigurement for an improved quality of life. It is the only operation that has the potential for the most complete functional restoration currently available for hand amputees.

A complication of CTA, including hand transplants, is the need for life-long immunosuppressive (anti-rejection) drugs to keep the body from rejecting donor tissues. New developments in stem cell therapies may eliminate the need for immune suppression by creating drug-free “tolerance” for transplants of all kinds.

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