The first U.S. soldier to lose all four of his limbs in the Iraq war has undergone an amazing double-arm transplant.
Twenty-six-year-old Brendan Marrocco, who had the successful surgery in December, was gravely injured by a roadside bomb in 2009.
Brendan also received bone marrow surgery from the same body doner who’s responsible for giving him his new arms.
The soldier’s surgery, which was led by Johns Hopkins University’s plastic surgery chief Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, is noted as the seventh documented double-hand/double arm transplant in the U.S.
Lee spoke with the Associated Press and said Marrocco’s operation “was the most complicated one” he’s ever performed. He went on to say:
The maximum speed is an inch a month for nerve regeneration. We’re easily looking at a couple years until the full extent of recovery is known.
Brendan Marrocco’s father, Alex Marrocco, revealed the news about his son’s December 18 double arm transplant surgery today. He spoke to the AP about his son and his new limbs:
He was the first quad amputee to survive from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there have been four others since then. He was really excited to get new arms.
Brendan’s surgery was funded by the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM). He is expected to spend three to four months at John Hopkins University for physical therapy and then report to a military hospital for further therapy.
Brendan’s Staten Island home, which was the location of a special homecoming after being built with the help of charities, was damaged by Superstorm Sandy last fall. Even though that should put a further damper on Brendan’s life, the young soldier is said to be in high spirits.
After the operation, Alex Marrocco made note of his son “making the nurses laugh” with his Al Pacino impression.
The world’s first double arm transplant was performed in 2008 on a German farmer who lost both his limbs after an accident. Video footage of the farmer’s story can be seen below:
Katy Hayes, a Texas woman who was reported as a quadruple amputee, is the first American to undergo a double arm transplant. She lost her limbs after giving birth to her third child in 2010. Her story can be seen below: