The first successful hand transplant was conducted in France in September 1998. At first, hands/arms could only be grafted on to arms severed below the elbow. In July 2008 the first arms were grafted above the elbow in Germany. The patient, Karl Merk, had lost both arms above his elbows in a work related accident a few years prior.
By March 2001, there had been 70 hand transplants performed worldwide on 52 patients.
For the operation on Felix, this procedure will be taken a step further. On his left side, a whole arm will be grafted with a shoulder bone. On his right side, the arm will be grafted on the bone that remains. Surgeons will go through his collarbone and the nerves will be grafted as close to his spine as possible.
This will be the first operation of its kind in the world.
It will take the nerves approximately 2 years to grow in the arm, and they grow about 1mm a day. During this period, Felix must be in rehabilitation for 6-8 hrs a day to pick up any activity in his arms. He has to live in Lyons during that time.
Felix came to France in June 1013 to wait for a donor. Do to administrative complications there has been 2 years delay of being put on the list.