The Innsbruck Hand Transplant Program: Update at 8 Years After the First Transplant

G. Brandacher, M. Ninkovic, H. Piza-Katzer, M. Gabl, H. Hussl, M. Rieger, M. Schocke, K. Egger, W. Loescher, B. Zelger, M. Ninkovic, H. Bonatti, C. Boesmueller, W. Mark, R. Margreiter, S. Schneeberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We herein provide an update on two bilateral hand and one bilateral forearm transplants with emphasis on immunosuppression (IS), function, morphology, and graft vascular changes at 8 years and 2 years after bilateral hand and 5 years after bilateral forearm transplantation. Between March 2000 and May 2006, three patients underwent bilateral hand or forearm transplantation at our institution. Following induction therapy with antithymocyte globulin (ATG) (n = 2) or alemtuzumab (n = 1), tacrolimus, prednisolone ± mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) were given for maintenance IS. Later, tacrolimus (n = 1) or MMF (n = 1) was replaced by sirolimus/everolimus for long-term IS. Clinical follow-ups with evaluation of hand function, skin biopsies, X-ray, ultrasound, angiography, computed tomography angiography, electrophysiological studies, and somatosensory evoked potentials were performed at regular intervals. Three, six, and three rejection episodes were successfully treated with bolused steroids, anti-CD25 or anti-CD52 antibodies. Subsequently, skin histology remained normal without any evidence of chronic rejection. Hand function continuously improved during the first 3 years and since then remained stable with minor improvements. Investigation of hand arteries revealed no signs of occlusion or stenosis. Motor and intrinsic hand muscle function continues to improve in all patients. Protective sensation was observed in all patients; however, discriminative sensation was only accomplished after hand but not forearm transplantation. No life-threatening adverse events occurred. Despite immunologic challenging postoperative courses, patients are now free of rejection with moderate levels of IS and good functional results. No signs indicating chronic rejection have been encountered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-494
Number of pages4
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Innsbruck Hand Transplant Program: Update at 8 Years After the First Transplant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this