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A Position Paper in Support of Hand Transplantation in the Blind

Carty, Matthew J. M.D.; Bueno, Ericka Ph.D.; Lehmann, Lisa S. M.D., Ph.D.; Pomahac, Bohdan M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: November 2011 - Volume 128 - Issue 5 - p 510e–515e
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31822b62e7
Hand/Peripheral Nerve: Special Topic

Summary: Blind upper extremity amputees have historically been excluded from consideration for hand allotransplantation. Although no formal position statement regarding their exclusion has been published to date, functional, rehabilitative, and ethical concerns related to blind amputee candidacy for hand transplantation may be inferred. The authors provide a summary of these reservations and a counterargument to their assumptions, drawing on outcomes measures reported for hand transplantations completed to date. The authors therefore provide a rationale for the inclusion of blind amputees in hand transplantation protocols in the future.

Boston, Mass.

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Faulkner Hospital, and the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Received for publication February 22, 2011; accepted April 6, 2011.

Disclosure: This work was supported in part by U.S. Department of Defense Contract W911QY-09-C-0216. Drs. Pomahac and Bueno receive salary support from this contract. None of the participating authors has a conflicting financial interest related to the work detailed in this article, nor do any of the authors maintain a financial stake in any product, device, or drug cited in this report.

Matthew J. Carty, M.D.; Division of Plastic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Faulkner Hospital, 1153 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, Mass. 02130,

©2011American Society of Plastic Surgeons