Boston Children’s Hospital To Offer World’s First Pediatric Hand Transplant

NEC Member Boston Children’s Hospital, a national leader among children’s specialty hospitals, announced that it would be launching a very promising, new pediatric hand transplant program. The program, designed exclusively for children, aims to restore limbs to victims of debilitating accidents or severe infections. A first of its kind, the program will expand upon the hospital’s current pediatric transplant services, which include heart, liver, lung, kidney and intestine and multivisceral transplants.

The extensive surgery, which usually involves transplanting part of the arm as well, has never been performed on a child when the donor and recipient were genetically different. However,  nearly 70 adults worldwide have successfully undergone the procedure. Notably, three of those successful adult operations occurred in Boston at Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General hospitals.

The premier program at Children’s will be spearheaded by Dr. Amir Taghinia, who has participated in several adult hand transplant surgeries, and Dr. William Harmon, who will serve as the medical director and co-investigator and has been accepted and viewed by the medical community as a “natural progression” in advancing the field.

“In recent years, medical knowledge, expertise and technology have evolved to a place where we are able to offer this as an experimental option to patients on a research basis. We hope that for some children, hand transplants will improve their quality of life, allowing them the ability to be more independent and perform daily tasks—tasks that many of us take for granted,” Dr. Tahinia stated.

Following a two-year review, Children’s Hospital’s ethics committee approved the program and has encouraged qualified patients to learn more about what Children’s has to offer. Doctors have limited offering this advanced procedure initially to children who are missing both hands and who are at least age 10. Additionally, doctors must obtain a child’s “assent’’ for the transplant, in addition to getting consent from parents.

The New England Council is proud to count Children’s Hospital among our members and looks forward to the future success of this new program and would like to wish our NEC member.

To learn more about Children’s program, please click here.

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