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Double-Arm Transplant Helps Iraqi Vet

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Image description: A team of surgeons at Johns Hopkins performs the hospital’s first double-arm transplant on former infantryman Brendan Marrocco. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

Former infantryman Brendan Marrocco lost both his arms and legs while serving in Iraq. However, after a successful double-arm transplant surgery, Marrocco has two arms again.

The double-arm transplant was the first surgery of its kind performed at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, Md. A team of 16 surgeons performed the surgery, which lasted 13 hours.

The surgical team replaced Marrocco’s right arm with a donor arm. On his left side, where Marrocco still had an elbow, the team replaced his entire forearm with his own remaining tissue, said Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, director of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins.

Marrocco is currently in intensive hand therapy which helps him learn how to move his fingers, wrists and elbow.

“One of my goals is to hand cycle a marathon,” Marrocco said, after his surgery. “I want to get the most out of these arms. And as goals come up, knock them down and absolutely take it as far as I can. I want to get to the point where I can be on my own and get back to enjoying my life.”

Learn more about Marrocco’s surgery.