Injured Soldier Gets New Hands From Woman Donor

A doctor who took part in a double hand transplant on a young Polish soldier earlier this month said Wednesday the operation was a success and the patient is doing fine.

Dr. Ahmed Elsaftawy who was part of a team of five doctors, two anesthesiologists and 13 nurses that operated on the 34-year-old man June 5 to transplant both hands simultaneously in a 17-hour surgery. He operated on the left hand. The surgery was performed in the Trzebnica hospital, in southwestern Poland.

It was first such operation in Poland and the third in Europe, said Elsaftawy. He said the most difficult part was connecting the blood vessels and then joining the recipient's skin with that of the transplant.

The patient can move the fingers on both hands, which came from a female donor.

Rehabilitation has started to eventually give the man control of the hands.

The soldier, who lost both his hands in an explosion in a training accident three years ago, was not identified.

The hospital has previously carried out single hand transplants, one of them on a boy whose arm was severed by a washing machine.