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Spanish surgeons perform first double leg transplant


Spanish surgeons perform first double leg transplant

nickj July 12, 2011

Doctors in Spain completed what is believed to be the first ever double leg transplant earlier this morning, and are now waiting to see whether or not the nerves will grow, the Daily Mail reports.

The surgery took 14 hours to complete, and doctors at La Fe Hospital in Valencia worked overnight to finish the transplant. The patient, who has not been identified but is believed to be a young adult male, lost both is legs in an accident and was unable to use artificial limbs because there was not enough muscle remaining to operate them.

Though the patient made it through surgery, he has a long way to go, the news source reports. The next 48 hours are crucial in determining whether or not his body has accepted the limbs, and if that's the case it will be at least a year until he has feeling in the legs. Additionally, he will have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life.

"Today we can say a landmark has been reached," Rafael Matesanz, director of the National Transplant Organization told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "On the one hand there are the risks of immunosuppression. We also expect a very long and difficult rehabilitation."

The procedure was performed by Dr. Pedro Cavadas, who is no stranger to such complex surgeries, having performed a double arm transplant in 2008 as well as a face transplant in 2009.

Such surgeries have been growing in number recently. Twenty-six-year-old Dallas Wiens became the first person in the United States to receive a face transplant in March when doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston replaced his nose, lips, facial skin and nerves after a severe electrical accident, Fox News reports.