Briton is the 'world's first' scleroderma patient to receive a double hand transplant

Steven Gallagher, five months after the operation, can stroke his dog and turn on the water tap to fill a glass. He now hopes to return to work.

Briton is the 'world's first' scleroderma patient to receive a double hand transplant

Steven Gallagher, five months after the operation, can stroke his dog and turn on the water tap to fill a glass. He now hopes to return to work.

After what is believed to have been the first ever double hand transplant, a man who was left with a rare condition that rendered his hands useless has been given a new lease on life.

Steven Gallagher (48) was diagnosed with scleroderma. This is an autoimmune condition that causes scarring to the skin. It started when Gallagher developed an unusual rash 13 years ago.

His nose, mouth, and hands were affected. He was experiencing "horrendous pain" around seven years ago when his fingers began to curl inward until they were in a fist-like position.

Experts suggested a double-hand transplant. The father-of-3 initially rejected the idea, but he decided to pursue it despite the potential risks.

According to him, his wife and he discussed it and reached an agreement to take it on. It was possible that I would lose my hands, so it was simply a matter of telling them I was willing to follow it."

To ensure that he was ready for the possibility of a transplant, Mr Gallagher from Dreghorn, North Ayrshire had to have a psychological evaluation.

After a suitable donor had been found, he underwent the 12-hour surgery in mid-December 2021.

Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust hand transplant team performed the operation. It is the first time that hand transplantation has ever been used to replace the hands of someone who has scleroderma.

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