News / USA

Transplant Recipient Says New Arms 'Amazing'

VOA News
A U.S. soldier who lost all four limbs in Iraq was released from a hospital near Washington Tuesday after a rare double arm transplant.

Brendan Marrocco, 26, told reporters it is "amazing" to have arms again after losing them to a roadside bomb in 2009. He is the first U.S. soldier from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to survive losing all four limbs.

Hand and Arm Transplants

  • 2012    Brendan Marrocco becomes seventh person in the U.S. to undergoes successful double arm transplants
  • 2008    World's first double arm transplant performed in Germany
  • 2000    World's first double hand transplant performed in France
  • 1999    First hand transplants performed in the U.S. and China
  • 1998    French doctors perform hand transplant, hand is removed three years later at patient's request
  • 1964    Doctors in Ecuador perform hand transplant, which is rejected two weeks later
Marrocco underwent a 13-hour surgery December 18 to attach his new arms, and has been recovering since then. He told reporters he does not mind using prosthetic legs, but had missed using his own hands.

Marrocco is expected to undergo rehabilitation for the next few years while improving the use of his new limbs.

"I hated not having arms. I was all right with not having legs. Not having arms takes so much away from you, out of even your personality. You talk with your hands, you do everything with your hands, basically, and when you don't have that, you're kind of lost for a while."

He said having arms again makes him feel like he has gone back four years, to the time before he was wounded. He also said he is looking forward to swimming, competing in a wheelchair marathon, and driving a car again.

At Tuesday's news conference, he pushed his own wheelchair and brushed his hair out of his eyes.

Despite years of recovery ahead of him, he says he is excited about the future.

"It feels amazing. It's something that I was waiting for for a long time, and now that it finally happened, I, I really don't know what to say, because it's just such a big thing for my life and it's just fantastic."



Doctors say that after the 13-hour procedure they gave Marrocco infusions of bone marrow from the arm donor to reduce the need for anti-rejection drugs, which can have side effects.

In the months prior to the procedure, doctors rehearsed the operation four times, using cadavers to practice reattaching bone, muscle, nerves and blood vessels.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sandi from: USA
January 30, 2013 7:40 AM
Amazing~!!! And wonderful for him that technology has come so far as to be able to do this...
In Response

by: sinirao from: Darien, State of Illinois
February 03, 2013 1:41 PM
Science and technology both are amazing and both evolve every
day and we continue to see what can be achieved with them. Hope a day will come people who just died may become donors for the injured there by they live in the form of arms and limbs of the living.I think that day is not far away. We live with Hope and propel through knowledge acquired.

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