A 19-year-old chemical engineering student got a new lease of life, after Asia’s first upper arm transplant was held at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi.
Shreya Siddanagowda had lost her both arms in a bus accident while she was travelling from Manipal to Pune, her home town, in September, 2016.
Shreya, the daughter of Suma Nuggihalli and Fakirgowda Siddnagowder, a senior manager at Tata Motors in Pune, had to quit her education following the accident.
The donor was 20-year-old Sachin, a BCom student from Ernakulam’s Rajagiri College, who had died in a bike accident recently.
The transplant was conducted by 20 surgeons and a 16-member anaesthetic team led by Dr Subrahmania Iyer, head, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department, AIMS.
The entire procedure took 13 hours.
“Upper arm transplants are more challenging than those at the wrist or forearm level due to the complexity involved in accurately identifying and connecting various nerves, muscles, tendons and arteries. Only nine such cases have been reported the world. Rehabilitation also is more difficult because the patient bears the weight of the transplanted hands at the upper arm. In Shreya’s case, both transplants were done at the middle of the upper arm,” Dr Iyer told Deccan Chronicle.
Doctors who conducted the transplant also said that Shreya's body seemed to have accepted the transplanted arms.
“Shreya is currently undergoing a regime of movements for fingers, wrists and shoulders. We expect that she will regain 85 per cent of hand function in the next one-and-a-half years,” the DC report quotes another doctor as saying.
The teen’s father told media persons that it was a miracle, that they got a perfect donor in such a short time.
“We feel it’s a miracle that we got a donor the day we reached Kochi and registered our daughter. We went and met the family of the boy to thank them. The mother was still grieving but the family took the decision to donate his organs for their son’s sake,” he was quoted as saying.
Speaking to media persons, Shreya said, "My whole world collapsed and I couldn't believe what had happened. When I was told by my mother that hand transplants were now being conducted in India, I got great strength and hope, and my disability began to look temporary. I felt that one day, I will again be able to lead a near-normal life with a transplant. Hopefully, in the next couple of years, I will be able to lead a near normal and happy life. I want to continue my studies and fulfill all my dreams that I had before the accident.”