ASHT member works with landmark transplant patient

Posted by NYU Langone Health 02/08/2021

by NYU Langone Health
February 3, 2021

ASHT member April D. O’Connell, OT/L, CHT, discusses hand therapy protocols for recipient of world's first successful face and double hand transplant.

NYU Langone Health Performs World’s First Successful Face & Double Hand Transplant
Landmark Surgical Success Despite Ominous Threats from the COVID-19 Pandemic

A surgical team from NYU Langone Health performed a face and double hand transplant for a 22-year-old New Jersey resident severely burned in a horrific car crash. The surgery included transplanting both hands and the full face of a single donor. It marked the first successful combination transplant case of its kind in the world.

About the Procedure

The surgery, which began the morning of Wednesday, August 12, took approximately 23 hours—a total surgery time shorter than NYU Langone’s most recent face-only transplant for Cameron Underwood performed in 2018. A team of more than 140 healthcare professionals, including surgeons, nurses, and other staff, was once again led by Eduardo D. Rodriguez, MD, DDS, director of the Face Transplant Program, the Helen L. Kimmel Professor of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, and chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone.

The recipient in this recent case is Joe DiMeo of Clark, New Jersey, who received third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body from a car accident in July 2018. Despite having approximately 20 reconstructive surgeries, DiMeo had extensive injuries—including amputated fingertips, severe facial scarring, and no lips or eyelids—that affected his vision and daily activities, and severely limited his ability to live a functional and independent life.

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