The surgery took more than 12 hours. The team, led by L. Scott Levin, M.D., and Benjamin Chang, M.D., included 12 surgeons, 8 nurses, 4 anesthesiologists and others. Levin and Chang direct the Hand Transplantation Program at CHOP.
The recipient, Zion Harvey, 8, lost his hands and lower legs at the age of 2 as a result of a life-threatening infection. He also went into kidney failure as a result of the infection. He had a kidney transplant at age 4, with his mother as the donor. Zion takes immunosuppressant drugs because of the kidney transplant. This made him an ideal candidate for hand transplant. After more than 18 months of evaluation and preparation, Zion was listed for donor hands.
This field of transplant surgery is called vascularized composite allotransplantation.