A team of surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore successfully performed a bilateral arm transplant on an Army veteran, according to a news conference held on Jan. 29.
The recipient was US Army Sgt. Brendan Marrocco, 26, who lost both arms and legs while serving in Iraq in 2009. Marrocco is the first US soldier from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive a quadruple amputation.
The 13-hour surgery occurred on Dec. 18, 2012 and was performed by a team of 16 surgeons, led by W.P. Andrew Lee, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
“Six weeks ago today, a team of physicians and nurses helped to restore the physical and psychological wellbeing for someone who deserved it,” Lee said during the press conference.
“His hope to lead a more normal life has been further boosted by this first double arm transplant at Johns Hopkins.”
Marrocco was officially released from the hospital and will remain in Baltimore for 2 to 3 months for more recovery and therapy. It will take 2 to 3 years for actual functionality of the transplanted arms to be determined, but the doctors are hopeful that Marrocco should gain improved functionality and control. He already has some sensation and movement in his arms.
“[This surgery] has given me hope for the future. I feel like it’s a second chance to start over since I’ve been hurt,” Marrocco said. “I am excited for the future. I’m looking forward to doing everything that I’ve wanted to do for the past 4 years.”
When asked what he was most excited about doing, Marrocco responded that he is eager to drive a car again.