story by: CBS/AP
photo courtesy of: Gail Burton, AP
A soldier who lost all four limbs in an Iraq roadside bombing says he looks forward to driving and swimming with his new arms.
Twenty-six-year-old Brendan Marrocco spoke at a news conference Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He was joined by the surgeons who performed the double-arm transplant there.
The procedure was only the seventh double-hand or double-arm transplant ever conducted in the United States.
Dr. W. P. Andrew Lee, the lead surgeon on Marrocco’s team, said this surgery “was the most extensive and complicated” transplant surgery ever performed, involving the connecting of bone, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and other tissue. He said his team had rehearsed four times on cadavers in the last two years.
Marrocco said he already can twist the wrist in his left arm, which had a lower amputation than the right, allowing doctors to begin that arm transplant at his elbow. Lee said nerves regrow at about an inch per month, so given the length of an arm, it will take several months to more than a year for most normal arm movements to occur with Marrocco.
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