Bostons Children’s Hospital Beginning New Hand Transplant Program

Boston Children’s Hospital is beginning the world’s first hand transplant, and soon to be face transplant, program for children. Many hand transplants have been done on adults, specifically more than 70, and have been done with amazing success. So why can’t children be offered the same operation?

Dr. Amir Taghinia, the leader of the future program, has said that the surgery should be safe enough for kids as well and that, “Children will potentially benefit even more from this procedure than adults,” because of the ability to regrow nerves better. And he’s right! In the past, the only children’s hand transplant procedure known is that of the twins in Malaysia, in the year 2000. Sadly, one twin had died during birth and the other needed a hand, which was ultimately taken from the twin that didn’t make it. The doctors during that surgery did not need to worry about the child rejecting the hand because it was of the same family and same DNA.

That is the key problem with the procedure on children, the reason it is still questioned. The immune – suppressing drugs carry bad side effects and could possibly increase the child’s risk of various types of cancer. But luckily Dr. Taghinia has said that in our day and age, we know much more about the drugs and can evaluate the patient in all much more thoroughly.

So now, the hospital will begin with children ten years and older, whom are missing both hands, with the procedure and care being covered by the hospital for three months. When three months have passed after the surgery, the hospital will ask the insurers to pay.

The hospital is stretching to new lengths and hopefully this program will enlighten other hospitals around the country.