01/04/2013 12:49 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Mark Cahill, 51-Year-Old British Man With Paralyzed Hand, Undergoes Landmark UK Transplant

After losing the ability to move his right hand following a severe infection from gout, 51-year-old British man Mark Cahill can now move his fingers again, thanks to a landmark eight-hour transplant.

"This operation is the culmination of a great deal of planning and preparation over the last two years by a team including plastic surgery, transplant medicine and surgery, immunology, psychology, rehabilitation medicine, pharmacy and many other disciplines," surgeon Simon Kay, who conducted the hand transplant, told the International Business Times. The surgery took place at Leeds General Infirmary.

Cahill's operation marks the UK's first hand transplant, the Daily Mail reported.

BBC News reported that Cahill is able to move his fingers, but still has not gained the sense of touch in his right hand. The eight-hour transplant operation involved cutting into his wrist and then connecting the new hand with Cahill's arm.

The Sun points out that this procedure is different from others because other hand transplants were in people who had already lost their limbs. Cahill's was done while he still had his hand, which was paralyzed; that hand was amputated in order to attach the new donor hand.

Cahill had lost the ability to use his right hand about five years ago, after a severe gout infection traveled to his hand from his toes and feet, BBC News reported.

"This has changed my life," Cahill told the Daily Mail. "It feels great to look at this hand and see it move. Before the operation, I couldn't tie my own shoes, do up the buttons on my shirt, cut up my own dinner or play with my grandson's toys with him -- hopefully I'll be able to do all these things now."

For the full story, watch the video from the International Business Times above.



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