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International vascularised composite allotransplantation activity: implications for Australia

Karen M Dwyer, James D Burt and Tim Bennett
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (2): 67-68. || doi: 10.5694/mja2.12068
Published online: 4 February 2019

Although hand transplantation has the potential to transform lives, the procedure is not without risk

March 2018 heralded 7 years since the only Australian to date received a hand transplant. The recipient has physically and psychologically integrated the transplanted hand and reports significantly improved quality of life;1 motor and sensory functions continue to improve incrementally with ongoing hand therapy. The Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) Vascular Composite Allograft (VCA) Advisory Committee met during the TSANZ annual scientific meeting held in Melbourne in April 2018. Transplant physicians and surgeons and reconstructive microsurgeons comprise the advisory committee, with scope to co‐opt expert members (eg, in bioethics) as required. Despite the success of the seminal hand transplant in Australia, no further patients have progressed to the transplant waiting list. In light of this, the Advisory Committee reflects in this article on the status of hand transplantation internationally and considers its relevance for Australia.

  • Karen M Dwyer1
  • James D Burt2
  • Tim Bennett2

  • 1 Deakin University, Geelong, VIC
  • 2 St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC

Correspondence: karen.dwyer@deakin.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

The views expressed in this manuscript reflect those of the TSANZ VCA Advisory Committee — Karen Dwyer (Chair), Jamie Burt, Tim Bennett, Frank Ierino, Sharon Ford, Kate Wyburn and Richard Allen — and have been ratified by the TSANZ Council — Stephen Alexander (President) and Toby Coates (President elect).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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