A surgeon from Cagliari transplants two hands in Sweden
Paolo Sassu protagonist of a river intervention that lasted 18 hours
There is a surgeon from Cagliari, Paolo Sassu, behind the exceptional transplant of both hands carried out in Goteborg, Sweden.
The patient is a middle-aged woman who had lost both limbs due to a severe infection.
The transplant, which took five years between the preparation of the surgeons, the authorizations and the research of the donor, lasted about 18 hours and required the commitment of a team of 15 surgeons, coordinated by Sassu, plus anesthetists and nurses.
"It was necessary to ensure that bones, blood vessels, tendons and nerves were connected so that the function and mobility of the hands were guaranteed," commented the surgeon from Cagliari.
The surgery was carried out in December but was only made known today, after the critical phase that could have involved the rejection of the implanted limbs.
"I thank the doctors for the opportunity they have given me to find a normal and more independent life", commented the patient. “I will always be grateful to the surgeons who gave me the opportunity to have two hands, I didn't think it would be possible. Thanks also to the donor and his family's decision to donate the hands,” she concluded.
Sassu, hand surgeon and director of the hand transplant project at the Sahlgrenska university hospital in Goteborg, graduated in Cagliari and after specializing in orthopedics and traumatology he obtained a master's degree in microsurgery in Nancy. From 2003 to 2006 he moved to Taiwan in order to deepen his knowledge on microsurgery. He later moved to the United States, to Louisville, Kentucky, to acquire specific skills in Hand Surgery. From 2008 to 2012 he returned to Cagliari where he worked as a hand microsurgeon at the Marino Hospital.
In 2012, Sweden called him to lead the hand transplant project which after 8 years of intense work has come to fruition. In 2019 Sassu had performed the first robotic hand implant in the world, again at the Sahlgrenska university hospital. He is married to a researcher from Cagliari and father of a child.