01/04/2020 15:41 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Vietnamese surgeon conducts world’s first limb transplant from living donor

The world’s first limb transplant from a living donor has successfully been conducted by surgeon Nguyen The Hoang and his colleagues from the Upper Limb Surgery and Microsurgery Department of Hanoi’s Central Military Hospital 108.
One month following the operation, we had a chance to meet Dr Nguyen The Hoang, Deputy Director of the hospital, at the intensive care room, where the transplant patient Pham Van Vuong was treated.

According to Dr Hoang, it took him and his colleagues three years to prepare all the options, regimens and testing procedures for the historic limb transplant. Hoang said the transplant is a lot more difficult and complicated then the double arm transplant which he, then one of the main surgeons, performed in Munich, Germany in 2008. Hoang noted that the 8-hour surgery, in which he led a team of surgeons to graft a left forearm on Vuong, marked a big milestone for Vietnamese medical sector. 


Prof. Dr. Senior Colonel Nguyen The Hoang, Deputy Director of Hanoi’s Central Military Hospital 108. Photo: Tat Son


Dr Nguyen The Hoang gives a presentation on the transplant to the hospital Board of Directors. Photo: Files


The successful transplant opens up new opportunities for treating patients with damaged limbs. Photo: Tat Son / VNP


Doctors of Hanoi’s Central Military Hospital 108 and patient Pham Van Vuong. Photo: Files
Since completion of the surgery, Vuong, a 31-year-old worker who lost his hand in a work-related accident four years ago, feels as if he was living in a dream. Vuong can hold objects in his palm, which shows good signs of recovery. He now has to do physical activities guided by Dr Hoang. 

Dr. Hoang, a talented expert in Vietnamese medicine, successfully performed thousands of microsurgery and free-flap reconstruction cases, which brought health and joy to patients in Vietnam and the world. In 2008, Dr. Hoang was among five experts who carried out the world’s first double arm transplant in Munich, Germany that made history in world medicine. The limb transplant from a living donor at Central Military Hospital 108, where Dr. Hoang has dedicated more than 30 years of his career, confirms the Vietnamese doctor’s expertise worldwide.

Being an experienced surgeon, Dr Hoang used to be the leader of the field surgical team during fierce fighting years on the Cambodian battlefield. Back then, Hoang, 22, had just graduated from the Military Medical Institute and volunteered to the be on the battlefield.


Dr Nguyen The Hoang and his colleagues perform the transplant. Photo: Files 


Dr Nguyen The Hoang and his colleagues successfully conduct the world's first limb transplant from living donor. Photo: Tat Son


Vuong now can move the fingers of his new hand. Photo: Tat Son 


Vuong is able to hold objects in his palm. Photo: Tat Son / VNP


Dr Hoang helps Hoang practice physical activities. Photo: Tat Son / VNP


Dr Hoang checks Vuong’s new hand. Photo: Files


Patient Lo Van Sam, whose hand was amputated due to a workplace accident, is added to the transplant waiting list. Photo: Tat Son 

Following Dr Hoang, we visited Nguyen Van Ty, a wounded soldier who lost both legs and has been treated at the hospital since 1981. Ty, also Hoang’s teammate on the Cambodian battlefield, has undergone three surgeries of lower-limb amputations and replacement, performed by Dr Hoang. Patient Nguyen Van Ty has now recovered.

Dr Hoang is currently treating Lo Van Sam from the Thai ethnic group in Son La province. After Vuong’s successful transplant, Dr Hoang is hopeful that he can graft a hand for Sam, whose hand was amputated due to a workplace accident.


 
Story: Bich Van -  Photos: Tat Son & Files