Limb transplant surgery, a highly complex procedure that allows amputees to regain movement and sensation in their new limbs, is now available in Israel. An Israeli orthopedist revealed in an interview that he has personally transplanted limbs and participated in these surgeries abroad. The surgery involves connecting blood vessels, nerve fibers, muscles, bone tissues, and skin from a deceased donor to the recipient’s body, requiring coordination and extensive preparations. One success story is American Marine Sergeant John Peck, who lost all his limbs in Afghanistan and successfully underwent arm transplantation surgery.
Dr. Zvika Steinberger, head of the Microsurgery Unit at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, has treated severely injured patients with limb injuries and has participated in limb transplant surgeries abroad. He highlighted the complexity of the surgery, from finding the right donor to connecting the different elements of the limb. However, the rehabilitation process is also lengthy, and transplantees need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. Despite the challenges, bringing limb transplants to Israel would be a tremendous achievement and a great joy for the soldiers who lost limbs defending the country.
Dr. Tamar Ashkenazi, the director of the Israeli National Transplant Center, emphasized that consent for donating external organs, such as limbs, requires agreements with the families of the deceased and increased public awareness. However, she believes that any action that can save lives or significantly improve the quality of life for injured individuals should be considered feasible in the country.