Two male patients, one of them 64 years old and the other 19 years old, have successfully undergone hand transplants at Amrita Hospital, Faridabad in the Delhi National Capital Region. This is the first time that such a procedure has been conducted in North India.
Significantly, this is also the first time in India and only the second such case in the world where a kidney-transplant recipient has received a hand transplant. The two complex surgeries lasted for around 17 hours each and were conducted in the last week of December 2023.
Gautam Tayal, the 64-year-old patient hailing from Delhi, had undergone a kidney transplant 10 years ago due to which he was already on immunosuppressants. About two years ago, he lost his left hand just above the wrist in an industrial accident in a factory.
“I was devastated at losing my limb at this age. However, seeing Amrita Hospital’s stellar record of conducting hand transplants gave me hope for the future,” said Mr Tayal.
“This hand transplant has gifted me a new lease of life. I am so happy and grateful that God, and Amrita doctors, have given me a second chance to live my life to the full.”
The hand that he received in transplant belonged to a 40-year-old man who was declared brain dead following a head injury. The deceased man’s family generously agreed to donate his various organs, including his hands, immediately following his death. The donated hand was flown from Thane, near Mumbai, to Faridabad, where the doctors immediately started the procedure.
Dr Mohit Sharma is Professor & Head, Centre for Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad. He said, “This is a very rare and exciting feat in medical science. To achieve union of the two hands, we had to join two bones, two arteries, 25 tendons and 5 nerves.
“The patient is doing well in the post-operative period and his hand movements are in recovery. He will be discharged within a week.”
Getting a new pair of hands seems like a dream come true to me. God has finally answered my prayers.Devansh Gupta, 19-year-old hand transplant recipient
The second hand transplant was conducted on 19-year-old Devansh Gupta, also from Delhi. He lost both upper limbs (hands) and the right lower limb above the knee in a train accident three years ago.
“When I lost both my hands at such a young age, I couldn’t come to terms with reality. It was a devastating loss from which it was impossible to recover. My life as I knew it came crashing down,” shared Mr Gupta.
“Getting a new pair of hands seems like a dream come true to me. God has finally answered my prayers. I eagerly look forward to the day when I will feel the first sensation in my hands and be able to move my fingers. I thank the doctors of Amrita Hospital for giving me a new life and a new hope.”
The two hands he received in transplants belonged to a 33-year-old man in Surat, Gujarat who was declared brain dead due to a chronic and fatal lung condition. His family readily agreed to donate his various organs immediately following his death and his hands were flown to Faridabad in a complex logistical operation.
“The patient’s right limb was transplanted at the upper arm level and the left limb just above the elbow level. The higher the level of amputation, the more challenging the hand transplant becomes, and there are profound technical issues in upper arm-level hand transplant. So far, the patient’s progress has been excellent,” said Dr Anil Murarka, Senior Consultant, Centre for Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Amrita Hospital Faridabad.
“He needs to take immunosuppression lifelong so that the new hands are not rejected by his body. It will take him anywhere between 6 to 18 months to regain enough function in his new hands to do day-to-day activities. He also needs to undergo intensive physiotherapy including muscle stretching for another year.”
Swami Nijamritananda Puri is the Administrative Director, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad and he extended his heartfelt congratulations to the Amrita doctors for achieving such a remarkable medical procedure.
“This accomplishment is a testament to the world-class infrastructure of our hospital and the exceptional skills of our surgeons. In a brief period, Amrita Hospital has emerged as one of the world’s leading institutions for hand transplants,” he said.
Said Dr Sanjeev Singh, Medical Director, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad: “My congratulations to Amrita doctors and everyone involved for the two successful hand transplants in Faridabad. This is a major medical feat. The hand transplant surgery posed a risk of kidney failure to the 64-year-old patient, but thanks to the entire team at Amrita, the surgery was a success. We now look forward to both the patients leading normal lives, like anyone else.”