Man Receives World’s First Successful Double Hand Transplant

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After an accident with a metal pressing machine, Chris King lost both of his hands from the thumb upwards. Three years later, in July 2016, the 57-year-old had the first double hand transplant operation in the United Kingdom.

King was all smiles after the surgery, telling the BBC that, “I couldn’t wish for anything better. It’s better than a lottery win because you feel whole again…They’re my hands. They really are my hands. My blood’s going through them. My tendons are attached. They’re mine. They really are.”

It’s hard to imagine how hard life must be without both of your hands, and the surgery itself was extremely difficult too. Doctors in Leeds performed a hand transplant previously, but it was only one hand from the wrist upwards. Navigating the part of the hand that was still intact on King, and taking the time to consider how the end result would look had surgeons very focused.

Doctors were concerned of the psychological impact, but King says he can hardly recall what his hands looked like before the accident. Amazingly, he can already move his new hands a bit, and he says he can’t wait to hold a beer, work out in the garden, and even mow the lawn.