Surgeons Complete Nation's 3rd Successful Hand Transplant

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A Michigan man who lost his right hand in a work-related accident 30 years ago has become the third successful hand transplant recipient in the United States.

Doctors at Louisville Jewish Hospital say 54-year-old David Savage of Bay City, Michigan is doing well the day after having the surgery.

Doctors say the transplant for Savage presented unusual challenges because of the length of time between loss of the hand and the surgery. Dr. Warren Breidenbach says the blood vessels leading to Savage's hand had shrunk because they were not in use.

He compared it to closing down your house for 32 years, then deciding to go back in and take a shower. In his words: "You turn it on, it sputters a little bit, then it works."

Matt Scott, of Mays Landing, New Jersey lost his left hand in a fireworks accident in 1985, then received the first successful hand
transplant at Jewish Hospital in 1999.

The Jewish Hospital team performed a second hand transplant in February 2001 on Jerry Fisher, a Michigan contractor. At least 18 people worldwide have received hand transplants.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)