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UK first hand transplant

04 January 2013

On reports that a patient has received the first hand transplant in the UK, Professor Norman Williams, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“This is yet another example of life-changing surgical advancements that are now possible. New surgical techniques together with a greater understanding of organ rejection are making an ever wider range of transplants feasible. This presents opportunities for treating conditions and improving quality of life in ways that simply were not possible in the past.

As with all procedures that improve the quality of life rather than save it, there is an ethical balance to be struck – especially as the lifelong anti-rejection medication that the patient would need to take carries its own risks. Care always needs to be taken in choosing suitable patients who understand the risks and benefits. This selection should be by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors which includes a psychologist or psychiatrist as a core-member of the selection team.”


The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808

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