January 12, 2016 2:09 pm
Updated: January 12, 2016 6:17 pm

First upper limb transplant performed successfully in Canada

WATCH ABOVE: How Western Hospital doctors transplanted an upper limb


A team of surgeons and medical staff have successfully completed Canada’s first transplant of an upper limb, according to the University Health Network.

Surgeons at Toronto Western Hospital attached the forearm and hand from a donor to a 49-year-old female recipient.

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The procedure lasted close to 14 hours, and involved a team of 18 surgeons. This complex surgery “required the cooperation of a variety of different surgical disciplines from a number of hospitals and the University of Toronto,” according to a release from UHN.

To protect patient confidentiality of the donor and recipient, the date of the surgery is not being released.

The 49-year-old female recipient, lost her arm below the elbow in an accident several years ago, according to UHN.

She is recovering well from the from the procedure and will immediately start rehabilitation with a custom made splint and motion of the joints to avoid stiffness.

“We are very proud to have successfully performed this forearm and hand transplant procedure,” said team lead Dr. Steven McCabe, the director of Toronto Western Hospital’s Hand and Upper Extremity Transplant Program.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are excited to be able to provide this procedure to patients who would benefit from it.”

McCabe was part of the surgical team in Louisville, Kentucky that performed the world’s first successful hand transplant in 1999. More than 110 hand transplants have taken place worldwide in more than 12 countries.

Surgeons arrive at Toronto Western Hospital’s Operating Rooms with the limb that will be surgically attached to the patient.

Courtesy University Health Network

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