Spaniard loses both legs again

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After a double leg transplant, the legs must be amputated again

Double leg amputation after double leg transplant. Two years ago, two legs were transplanted to a patient for the first time in the La Fe Hospital in Valencia. The medical sensation that was initially celebrated has now come to a sad end. Both legs had to be amputated again.

According to the information from the La Fe Hospital in Valencia, the man had to stop taking the immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of the transplanted legs due to an unspecified illness. In such cases, it is intended that the transplanted organ be removed from the patient if this is not a vital organ "to enable treatment of the disease, which is more serious and urgent," the clinic reports in a statement on the double leg amputation.

Disease prevents further use of immunosuppressive drugs In a ten-hour operation in 2011, the team of 50 led by surgeon Pedro Cavadas at Hospital La Fe had two legs transplanted from a man who had his legs cut off above the knee in a traffic accident. Nerves, blood vessels, muscles, tendons and bones were newly connected to save the patient a life in a wheelchair. The doctors' ambitious plan initially seemed like a complete success. The legs were not rejected and the patient could theoretically have lived a reasonably normal life with legs again over time. Only the use of so-called immunosuppressants, which should permanently prevent rejection of the transplanted legs, was unavoidable. However, the patient was apparently no longer able to take the medication, which is why Cavadas and colleagues decided to have their legs amputated.

Double leg amputation Consequence of drug withdrawal A disease not related to the original transplantation made it impossible for the patient to continue taking the immunosuppressive agents, but reports the hospital without naming the disease in more detail. The amputation had occurred some time ago, but has only become public because the patient previously refused to consent to the announcement. Despite the failure, criticism of the ambitious “miracle doctor”, as Cavadas is sometimes called by the Spanish media, has so far been limited. Cavadas had caused a sensation several times with his spectacular interventions. For example, in the world's first double hand transplant in 2006. (fp)

Image: Dieter Schütz /

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