Upper double arm transplant at Amrita Hospital for a female recipient from a male donor

Shreya Siddanagowda was only 19 years old when she tragically lost both of her arms in a bus accident last year. Today she received the upper double-arm transplant at Amrita Hospital. Shreya has two arms again, and her doctors expect her to regain 85% of her hands’ functioning within 18 months. The procedure that gave Shreya a new lease on life was the first upper double-arm transplant in all of Asia, and only the 9th ever to be performed successfully in the world.

Incidentally, this is the first time in the world a male donor’s hand has been transplanted on a female recipient. “It was Shreya who removed our doubts on the matter. She was ready to receive the arm from a male donor,” Dr Mohit said.

The surgery, which lasted 13 hours, took a team of 20 surgeons and 16 aestheticians. Dr. Subramania Iyer, head of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Amrita said, “Upper-arm transplants are much more challenging due to the complexity involved in accurately identifying and connecting various nerves, muscles, tendons and arteries. Rehabilitation is also much more difficult because the patient bears the weight of the transplanted hands at the upper arm.”

The organ donor was Sachin, 20 year old, studying in Ernakulam who died in a motorcycle accident. Shreya’s body has accepted the transplanted arms, and she is showing good signs of recovery. She has been discharged from the hospital and put on an intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation program.

“When I heard there is hand transplant facility in India, I finally felt my disability is only temporary. It helped a lot. Hopefully, in the next couple of years, I will lead a near normal life” said Shreya, a 19-year-old chemical-engineering student from Pune. “I want to continue my studies and fulfill all my dreams that I had before the accident. I thank the donor Sachin’s family and doctors at Amrita Hospital for giving my life back.”