News Releases

News Releases

Fifth U.S. Hand Transplant Patient Gets Look at New Hand

For Immediate Release: 12/1/2008

LOUISVILLE, KY – The United States’ fifth hand transplant recipient got a look at his new right hand on Saturday, November 29, as Dr. Warren C. Breidenbach, lead hand transplant surgeon, changed the bandages.

“Wow, it looks like a perfect match,” said Jan “Erik” Hondusky from his room at Jewish Hospital.  “It’s awesome,” said his wife Raylene, “this is so exciting.”

Hondusky, a New York resident, went on to say, “thanks to the donor family for their kindness at this sad time in their lives.  And thanks to all the positive comments I have read on the various media web sites over the past week. I even heard from the last hand recipient Dave Armstrong.”

Kadiyala Ravindra, M.D., University of Louisville assistant professor of surgery, manages the immunosuppressive therapy for Hondusky. Ravindra said, “Erik is doing well and shows no signs of rejection. He will have his first biopsy today. We will continue to monitor him with biopsies and other lab tests.”

Breidenbach said, “Today, Erik’s new hand will be placed in an ‘Outrigger’ brace to protect and control movements of his hand. Therapy at Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center will also begin today.”  Hondusky will have therapy three hours a day for five to six days a week over the next three months, while he recovers in Louisville. He will be discharged from Jewish Hospital tomorrow.

Kleinert Kutz and University of Louisville hand surgeons performed the hand transplant on Hondusky at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center on November 24, 2008, during a record nine-hour surgical procedure.  Warren C. Breidenbach, III, M.D., with Kleinert Kutz and University of Louisville assistant clinical professor of surgery, led the team of five hand surgeons, 10 hand fellows and a two-member anesthesiology team from Hand Care Center Anesthesia. 

Hondusky, a 43-year-old production worker, injured his dominant right hand in a furnace accident on April 12, 2006, when his hand was crushed and burned thus requiring amputation.  He used a prosthetic hand to perform daily living activities before the transplant procedure. 

A hand transplant, unlike a solid organ transplant, involves multiple tissues (skin, muscle, tendon, bone, cartilage, fat, nerves and blood vessels) and is called composite tissue allotransplantation.

A partnership of physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, Kleinert Kutz and the University of Louisville developed the pioneering procedure.  Breidenbach and his team are the only surgeons to perform hand transplants in the U.S. To date, there have been a total of 40 hands transplanted on 32 patients around the world.

Information, photography and video are available on our web sites at www.handtransplant.com and www.jewishhospital.org.  Video on the website is not broadcast quality.


 

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Barbara Mackovic
Senior Manager
502-587-4230
 

Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare Kleinert Institute Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center University of Louisville School of Medicine