World’s First Double Arm Transplant

Source: Yahoo News UK

Felix Gretarsson, 49, lost both arms in 1998 after an accident while trying to fix a powerline. The former electrician had 54 operations while in a three-month-long coma. He tracked down and convinced a surgeon to perform a double arm and shoulder transplant in January 2021.

Origninally form Kópavogur, Iceland, now living in Lyon, France, and a grandfather of two, Gretarsson has shocked surgeons with his incredible progress, and is now able to brush his teeth, throw balls for his dog and hug his kids with his new arms.

“Just this morning I was putting my hand out the car window and feeling the wind on it — a very weird moment. Being able to scratch without rubbing yourself on some furniture. You don’t realize when you lose your hands how often a day you need to touch your nose or your eyes or scratch your head, and now I’m just constantly doing it.

“At some point you just feel you are ready to do it, the movement starts to come but there is no strength at the beginning, just a little fraction of nerves in the muscle so I can contract the muscles to a degree.”

While he could use his feet to drive the car prior to the operation, he used a steering wheel with his hands for the first time: “The first time I let go of the floor steering wheel on the floor, that was awesome.

“It’s super challenging and frustrating as hell constantly trying to do something and the muscles don’t move, but the reward is incredible when all of a sudden these movements start to manifest. The arms down to the wrists feel well attached and I can feel them, and I can feel every part of the hand but it is still not perfect.”

Nerves grow an average a millimeter (0.04 inch) every day: his doctors estimate they’ll reach his elbow in under a year; his hands in about two.

To build up the muscles in his new arms, Felix has now started to go to the gym to exercise. “I’m not putting any serious weight on, I’m trying to put on muscles but at the same time growing nerves Doctors told Felix that nerves grow on average a millimetre every day, so estimate they’ll reach his elbow in under a year, and his hands in about two.

“When the goal is clear, you always find a way. Sometimes the bad things that happen to us are the reason the good things can happen to us further down the line. If I hadn’t lost my arms I wouldn’t be living in France with my wife today. So many good things you can take from this – this is what has kept me going. There’s always a silver lining to everything.

“It’s my 50th birthday next week so I’ve been going berserk trying to clean the residence for the party in the garden!”

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