World’s first two-arm and shoulder transplant

French doctors performed unprecedented hand and shoulder transplant surgery for a 48-year-old Irish man.

Mr. Guðmundur Felix Grétarsson, who underwent more than 14 hours of arm and shoulder transplant surgery at Adouard Harriot Hospital in Lyon, on January 6. It was the first surgery in the world to include a hand and shoulder transplant.

Grétarsson lost his arms in an occupational accident. Image: Iceland Review.

More than 20 years ago, Grétarsson, then an electrical engineer, lost his arms from electric shock.

Brynjólfur Jónsson, the orthopedic surgeon who treated Grétarsson after the accident, said that in his 40 years of career, he had never seen anyone so seriously injured. He performed no less than 54 surgeries for Mr. Grétarsson.

Dr Jónsson said if his situation went well after his hand and shoulder transplant, it would be a medical breakthrough.

Grétarsson when he was wearing a prosthesis and his wife, Miss Sylwia Gretarsson Nowakowska.  Photo: Iceland Monitor.

Brother Grétarsson wearing a prosthetic and his wife, Sylwia Gretarsson Nowakowska. Image: Iceland Monitor.

According to Dr. Jónsson, Grétarsson is resilient and determined to find a solution for himself. In 2013, he moved to Lyon to facilitate transportation to the hospital, in case he had the chance to have surgery. His name has been on the waiting list for 5 years. During that time, he always kept in touch with his doctor Michel Dubernard, who first performed the hand transplant successfully in 1998.

Hand transplant surgery is quite rare. From 1998 up to now, doctors have only transplant hands in the position under the shoulder. In Grétarsson’s case, more than 50 doctors and nurses were involved in surgery that lasted more than 14 hours.

Grétarsson He is recovering, in stable health, but it will take a long time for his new arms to move.

Mai Dung (According to the Iceland Review, Iceland Monitor)


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