A teenager who lost both her arms in a horror bus crash has had one of the world’s first double limb transplants.
Shreya Siddanagowda, 19, had to have both her arms amputated above the elbow when they were crushed in the accident.
Amazingly, she was able to crawl to safety, and four months later she started using prosthetics – which she found limited.
Then, last month the selfless family of a 20-year-old male student, who suffered a fatal head injury in a motorbike crash, agreed to donate his arms.
It meant she could have the 13-hour operation, which was the first in Asia – and one of only ten double upper arm transplants ever carried out in the world.
Chemical engineering student Shreya has now been discharged from hospital and is undergoing an intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation programme.
Shreya Siddanagowda pictured with her parents and Dr Subramani who carried out her double hand transplant
The student was left disabled after the loss of both of her hands after a road accident
Shreya, from the southern Indian state of Kerala, said: ‘My whole world collapsed and I couldn’t believe what had happened.
‘When I was told by my mother that hand transplants were now being conducted in India, I got great strength and hope, and my disability began to look temporary.
‘I felt that one day, I will again be able to lead a near-normal life with a transplant.
‘Hopefully, in the next couple of years, I will be able to lead a near normal and happy life.
‘I want to continue my studies and fulfill all my dreams that I had before the accident.’
Prosthetics were limiting
Shreya lost her arms when she was involved in a bus crash while on her way to her college near Mangalore, in September 2016.
She managed to pull herself from the wreckage and crawl to safety, but couldn’t move her crushed hands which had to be amputated above the elbow.
Four months later, Shreya began to use prosthetic limbs, but was unhappy with their mobility.
Bright student Shreya pictured before the accident which caused her devastating injuries
The 20-year-old donor, a final year student known only by his first name Sachin, was declared brain-dead after suffering a head injury in a motorcycle accident in August.
His parents agreed to donate their son’s arms and other organs for transplant and the procedure was carried out at The Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.
Led by plastic surgeon Dr Subramania Iyer, 20 surgeons and a 16 anesthetists took part in the mammoth 13 hour surgery.
He said: ‘Upper arm transplants are much more challenging than those at the wrist or forearm level due to the complexity involved in accurately identifying and connecting various nerves, muscles, tendons and arteries.
‘Rehabilitation is also much more difficult because the patient bears the weight of the transplanted hands at the upper arm.
The 19-year-old is grateful to her donor’s family and doctors for giving her a chance again to pursue her education and career
‘In Shreya’s case, both transplants were done at the middle of the upper arm.
‘This is the first time that an upper arm transplant has been done in India or even Asia.
‘Only nine such transplants have been conducted in the world until now.
‘Shreya is currently undergoing a regime of movements for her fingers, wrists and shoulders.
‘The elbow movements are planned to be started in a couple of weeks.’
Another surgeon Dr Mohit Sharma added: ‘We expect that she will regain 85 per cent of hand function in the next one-and-a-half years.’
Shreya tries out her new limbs following India’s first upper-arm double hand transplant
FIRST CHILD EVER TO RECEIVE A DOUBLE HAND TRANSPLANT MAKES ‘ASTONISHING PROGRESS’
Zion Harvey was most excited that his new hands could let him play sport
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself.
Zion Harvey, nine, from Baltimore in Maryland, lost his hands and his feet when he was just two years old to a life-threatening sepsis infection that also led to a kidney transplant.
Eighteen months later, researchers published the first report documenting the nine-year-old’s unprecedented experience.
He has endured numerous scares of his body rejecting his new limbs, and hours of struggling to learn how to grip.
But in a new report published by The Lancet, his team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia insist they are astounded by his abilities less than two years on.
The boy can already play baseball and throw a football.
‘Eighteen months after the surgery, the child is more independent and able to complete day-to-day activities,’ said Sandra Amaral, a doctor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where the operation took place.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online in July, lead surgeon Dr Scott Levin who came up with the idea to try such a risky operation said even he was surprised by the success.
‘I don’t think we could have asked for a better outcome by this point, a better patient.’