Musculoskeletal and Rheumatology Blog

World's First Pediatric Double-Hand Transplant Performed in Philadelphia

L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS
L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS

Thanks to Penn Medicine surgeons from the departments of Orthopaedics, Transplant, and Plastic Surgery, Zion Harvey, 8, is the first child to receive a bilateral hand transplant. The procedure, which lasted 10 hours, took nearly two years to plan.

"The planning took approximately 18 months," said team leader L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Penn Medicine and the director of Penn and CHOP’s Hand Transplant Program. "For those of you who are familiar with the book about Apollo 13, Failure Is Not an Option, that's how our team approached this transplant."

Zion suffered a life-threatening infection at age two that forced doctors to amputate both his hands and feet. Harvey says the new hands are a dream come true. "I just want to say this, never give up on your dreams. It will come true."

Hand transplant team

Orthopaedic surgery team Zion Harvey Dr. Levin with Zion Harvey

More Links

8-year-old becomes 1st child to get double hand transplant

For the first time ever, doctors have transplanted donor hands and forearms onto a child. Eight-year-old Zion Harvey lost his hands and feet at the age of 2 due to a serious infection that also led to a kidney transplant.

8-Year-Old Boy Gets Double Hand Transplant in Surgical First

In a surgical first, Philadelphia doctors have transplanted donor hands and forearms onto an 8-year-old boy whose own hands were amputated when he was a toddler.

First Pediatric Bilateral Hand Transplant Performed

Led by Dr. Levin, a team of forty surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other clinicians at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) operated for 10 hours on an 8-year-old-boy earlier this month to achieve the world's first pediatric bilateral hand transplant.

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Keep up-to-date on the latest advancements in the musculoskeletal field, including bone, muscle and joint disease treatments, and other updates from experts at Penn Medicine. 

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