AUG 03, 2015 10:30 AM PDT

First Pediatric Bilateral Hand Transplant a Success

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans


Zion Harvey is the first child to receive a double hand transplant, and he couldn't be more thankful. This story has been circulating for the past week, so no doubt you've seen the headlines.

What most impressed me about this story was the surgical process itself; each nerve and blood vessel from the donor limb had to be attached to Zion's own nerves and blood vessels. The process is difficult enough in an adult, but try performing it in a child. The technique that made all of this possible is called "microsurgery". As a microbiologist, I can appreciate the small things, but I'm totally out of my element when it comes to surgery.

Alexis Carrel developed the "triangulation method" to suture veins together and was awarded the Nobel Prize for it in 1912. Today, microsurgeons use operating room microscopes and micro-tools to perform these delicate surgeries. Needles used to suture veins are small enough to pass through a human hair!

Sources: Time, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Dec; 124 (6 Suppl): e282-94. PMID: 19952697, Vibe (image)
About the Author
  • Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
You May Also Like
MAR 24, 2021
Cardiology
Supplement Can Prevent Strokes in Patients with Rare Disease
MAR 24, 2021
Supplement Can Prevent Strokes in Patients with Rare Disease
Scientists have found that it may be possible for people with a rare genetic disorder to prevent fatal strokes by taking ...
MAR 30, 2021
Cardiology
Looking at a Fertility Drug's Cardiac Safety
MAR 30, 2021
Looking at a Fertility Drug's Cardiac Safety
New drugs go through a long and arduous process before they can grace a doctor’s office. One of the last steps is ...
MAR 30, 2021
Neuroscience
Prolonged Amygdala Activity Predicts Personal Wellbeing
MAR 30, 2021
Prolonged Amygdala Activity Predicts Personal Wellbeing
Researchers have found that activity in the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain) following exposure to negative ...
APR 05, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Does Cannabis Damage the Immune System?
APR 05, 2021
Does Cannabis Damage the Immune System?
Increasingly, cannabis is being hailed as a wonderdrug- treating ailments from pain to inflammation and even COVID- ...
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Celebrating National Pet Day
APR 09, 2021
Celebrating National Pet Day
Sunday, April 11, is National Pet Day! From pandemic companions to viral videos, pets are a huge part of our lives. Even ...
APR 11, 2021
Microbiology
Are Gut Microbes a Solution to Malnutrition?
APR 11, 2021
Are Gut Microbes a Solution to Malnutrition?
The bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract have a big influence on our health, and they serve some important functions i ...
Loading Comments...