Category: Tech / Sci / January 4, 2013 9:17 AM EST
A 51-year-old man said he was looking forward to holding his grandson's hand on Thursday (January 3) after becoming the first UK hand transplant recipient.
Mark Cahill, who lost the use of his right hand due to gout, underwent the eight-hour operation to have his hand removed and replaced on December 27 2012.
"Hopefully I will be able to get back to work for a start. That's a major difference. I might be able to cut my food up, button my shirts, fasten a pair of shoelaces but mainly I'll be able to hold my grandson's hand," he said.
Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary in northern England said a new technique was used which allowed very accurate restoration of nerve structures.
"I'm getting slight movement now - my feeling has just started to come back but everything's looking very very good, it's doing well," he added.
Leeds Teaching Hospital announced in late 2011 that it was looking for potential candidates for arm or hand transplants.
Mr Cahill was one of two potential candidates for treatment after a search across the country, and he was eventually chosen because he was the best tissue match.
The Leeds team worked with colleagues in Lyon, France, where hand transplants were pioneered in 1988.