Spanish surgeons claim first double leg transplant
MADRID – Spanish surgeons on Monday performed the world’s first double-leg transplant on a man whose legs were amputated above the knee after an accident, officials said.
Surgeons operated through the night on the man, who had faced life in a wheelchair because prosthetic limbs were unsuitable, said the health authority for the eastern region of Valencia.
“It is the first time in the world that such a transplant has been carried out,” it said in a statement after the surgery, carried out in the La Fe hospital in the city of Valencia.
Neither donors nor the patient were identified but the health authority promised further details later this week.
Spain’s health ministry announced in November that it had authorised a double leg transplant on an unidentified man who had both legs amputated above the knee after an accident.
The doctor in charge of the operation, Pedro Cavadas, is known in Spain for having carried out several transplants.
In October 2008 he carried out the first double arm transplant undertaken in Spain and the second in the world, while in August 2009 he performed the first face transplant in Spain.
Spanish Health Minister Leire Pajin Monday telephoned Cavadas to congratulate him on the “success” of the latest operation, Spanish media reported.
The surgery “brings hope to other patients who have suffered amputations,” the minister said.
She also praised the “generosity” of the donor’s family who had helped “make our country an example of solidarity in the world.”
Spain has become a world leader in organ donation since it set up a network of transplant coordinators in 1989 at all hospitals in the country which closely monitors emergency wards to identify potential donors.
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