The first child in the world to receive a double hand transplant is able to write, feed and dress himself on his own
Can we say this one is world's first successful child hand transplant?
A luckiest first child in the world is poised to undergo a double hand transplant.
He’s able to write, feed and dress himself, according to his doctors, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.
The report in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health provides the first official medical update on 10-year old Zion Harvey, who underwent surgery to replace both hands in July 2015.
It is expected that the child is more independent and able to complete day-to-day activities just eighteen months after the surgery, his doctor announced.
Harvey had his hands and feet amputated at the age of two, following a sepsis infection. He also had a kidney transplant.
Harvey was already receiving drugs to suppress any immune reaction to his kidney, which was a key factor in his selection for the 10-plus hour hand transplant surgery.
Immunosuppressive drugs must be taken continuously to prevent a patient's body from rejecting the transplant. These drugs carry risks, including diabetes, cancer, and infections.
Doctors reviewed both the successes and challenges Harvey and his family have faced, noting that a large team of specialists was hard at work supporting them through all the ups and downs.
The child has "undergone eight rejections of the hands, including serious episodes during the fourth and seventh months of his transplant," said the report.
Harvey continues to take four immunosuppression drugs and a steroid.
Regular meetings with a psychologist and a social worker were part of the recovery process, aimed at helping him cope with his new hands, according to reports.
Scans have shown his brain is adapting to the new hands, developing new pathways to control movement and feel sensations.
Researchers cautioned that more study is needed before hand transplants in children become widespread.