The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Marking 10 years of hand transplants at Leeds Teaching Hospitals

26 December 2022

On Boxing Day 2012, the first pioneering hand transplant took place at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT). 10 years on, a further 7 patients have undergone single or double transplants totalling 14 new hands and establishing the Trust as one of the leading hand transplant services in the world.

The only provider of this complex and life-changing surgery in the UK, Leeds is the home of the UK Hand Transplant Unit, commissioned by NHS Blood and Transplant.

Consultant Plastic Surgeon Professor Simon Kay, OBE, leads the clinical team of 30 and says, “The whole team is extremely proud of the unit we have established here in Leeds. In 10 years, we have moved from performing what was seen as a pioneering surgery, to establishing this service as accessible, well-coordinated and one of the top two units in the world.

“The level of expertise and quality of care in this team is exceptional and of course our surgeries would not be possible without the courage and generosity of the donors and their families. Their contribution over the last 10 years has enabled us to change lives and to work in this field is a privilege.”

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, says: “It is amazing to reach the tenth anniversary of limb transplantation here in the UK. Over that time, it has been fantastic to see the lives of both patients and their families transformed by this precious gift. We are immensely proud of all those in our team who have been part of making these transplants happen, but above all, we are grateful to the donors and their families, whose generosity at the most difficult of times, made these life-transforming transplants possible.”

NHS Director of Specialised Commissioning, John Stewart, says: “The NHS is proud to continue to offer patients access to the most cutting-edge treatments and procedures, including the world’s first double hand transplant for a patient with scleroderma earlier this year. The NHS is at the forefront of medical innovation, and this is just one example of how we are adopting the best medical advances for patients.”

Photo caption: Mark Cahill, the first hand transplant patient, catches up with Prof Kay and the medical team ahead of the 10 year anniversary of the first operation on Boxing Day 2012.