‘Hand transplants can transform lives of patients,’ says Dr Wahegaonkar
Excerpts from Jui Dharwadkar’s interview with Dr Abhijeet Wahegaonkar, hand and microvascular reconstructive surgeon (USA, Germany, France) on the importance of hand replantation.Updated: Feb 27, 2018 15:46 IST
Organ transplants have given a new lease of life to many residents over the years and have helped them live a transformed life. Among organ transplants, hand transplant is one area which is experiencing a sea of changes currently. Excerpts from Jui Dharwadkar’s interview with Dr Abhijeet Wahegaonkar, hand and microvascular reconstructive surgeon (USA, Germany, France) on the importance of hand replantation.
How important is hand transplant or hand replantation?
Hands are one of the most complex parts of our body. Without our hands, it will be extremely difficult to do routine and simple tasks such as opening doors, using forks to eat or even tying a shoe lace. Our hands make us skilled valuable workers. Many a time, in certain accidents, people loose hands or palms, which can be replanted or transplanted now. Hand transplant is not a life saving surgery, but is definitely a life transforming surgery.
What is hand surgery and who usually conducts the surgery?
Hand surgery is a field of medicine that deals with problems related to hand, wrist and forearm. Hand surgeons are orthopedic plastic surgeons who have additional training in the surgery of hands with some being skilled in microsurgery as well.
What are the challenges associated to replanting a hand?
Sometimes, hand replantation may not be possible due to technical issues or issues related to the transportation of the amputated part. It should be noted that while transporting any amputated part, it must be wrapped in a wet cloth and kept in a polythene bag of ice cubes. Most of the time, this is not done and the surgery later proves futile.
Why is hand replantation important when prosthetic limbs are available?
Inspite of the advancements that have been made in the field of robotics, it is difficult to make a prosthetic hand which functions as efficiently as the human hand. The sensation at the end of our fingertips is very difficult to duplicate. Thus, the only way to regain that feeling is to do a hand replantation.
Where are hand transplant surgeries available in India?
Amrita Institute in Kochi is the torch bearer of the hand transplant programme in India. Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai; Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, and BJMC is also trying to set up a programme which will facilitate hand replantation. It has now become the need of the hour.
First Published: Feb 27, 2018 15:45 IST