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Doctors perform world's first triple limb transplant

The 34-year-old patient received two arms and a leg after losing his own as a child, in Turkey.

File photo
File photo
Image: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A HOSPITAL IN southern Turkey has performed the world’s first triple limb transplant, attaching two arms and one leg to a 34-year-old man, an official said.

“Today, we have put our signature on a world success,” Dr Israfil Kurtcephe, the rector of Akdeniz University Hospital, told reporters after the two operations. “For the first time a hospital has transplanted two arms and a leg on one patient.”

At the same time, a team of doctors at the hospital in the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya, transplanted the face of the same donor onto another patient — a 19-year-old man. It was Turkey’s first face transplant.

Dr Omer Ozkan, who headed a 25-member team, said both patients were being cared for in the intensive care unit and were “doing well.”

“We have a critical 10-15-day period ahead of us for both operations, but if we pull through this period we will be making history,” Ozkan said.

The full face transplant lasted some nine hours, while the limb transplants took 12 hours.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said Atilla Kavdir, the 34-year-old receiving the limbs, lost his arms and right leg when he was 11 after he hit power lines outside his home with an iron rod to scare away pigeons and received an electric shock.

The teenage face transplant recipient was burned in a house fire when he was a baby.

The limbs and face became available early on Saturday and the hospital began the operation at 3.15am, Anadolu said.

The world’s first double arm transplant was in Germany in 2008, while the first double leg transplant took place in Spain in July 2011.

More than a dozen face transplants have been carried out around the world, starting in November 2005 with a French woman who was mauled by her dog.

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