The man whose hands were left unusable due to rare disease new rent of life after what is considered the world’s first double hand transplant for condition.
Stephen Gallagher, 48, has been diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune disease, causes scars of skin and internal organs, after he developed unusual rash about 13 years ago.
Areas were affected, including his nose, mouth, and hands, and around seven years ago, his fingers began to curl. in until they were in fist position and he was in “terrible” pain.
When the experts came up with the idea of a double manual transplant father-of-three initially rejected the idea, but then decided to continue despite the risks.
He told PA news agency: “My wife and I talked about it and agreed to go for This is. i could finish up still lose hands, so it was just happening of allowing them know i was going to go with This is.”
Mr Gallagher of Dreghorn in North Ayrshire, had to undergo a psychological assessment in order to ensure he was prepared for perspective of transplant.
He then underwent a 12-hour operation. in mid-December 2021 after a suitable donor was found. found.
Hand transplant team at the Leeds NHS Trust Teaching Hospital, which conducted out surgery, said it first time anywhere in in world that hand transplants were used to replace hands terminally affected by scleroderma.
Mr. Gallagher said: “After the operation, I woke up up and it was quite surreal, because before that I had hands, and then when I woke up up I still have hands from the operation in my head I never lost my hands.
“These hands are amazing, everything happened so fast. From the moment I woke up up from the operation I could move them.”
He added: “It gave me new rent of a life. i still find things hard just now but every week it gets better with physiotherapists and occupational therapists, all just recovering slowly.
“Pain is big thing. The pain before the operation was terrible, I on so much pain relief that it was unbelievable, but now I have no pain at all.
Mr Gallagher spent about four weeks in Leeds General Infirmary after surgery and regular hospital visits in Glasgow for physiotherapy and monitoring.
More than five months on after the operation, his condition improves, and although he cannot tasks requiring great dexterity, such as performing up buttons, he can do things like pet his dog on faucet and fill the glass of water.
48-year- the old one worked as a tiler and was made assistant contracts manager but had to stop work because of his condition.
Now he hopes to return to some of work as soon as his hands improved enough, and very grateful to the person and family of donor who made transfer possible.
30 people took part in the operation. team of specialists in many specialties.
Professor Simon Kay, of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “A hand transplant is very different from a kidney or other organ transplant because hands are something we see every day and we use them in so many ways.
“For this reason, we and our experienced clinical psychologists evaluate and prepare patients, in to be sure that they can cope psychologically with constant reminder of their transplantation and risk in body may reject transplanted hands.”