Military doctor makes history in transplanting limb from living donor

(VOVWORLD) - The world’s first limb transplant from a living donor was successfully conducted in April by surgeon Nguyen The Hoang and his colleagues at the Upper Limb Surgery and Microsurgery Department of Hanoi’s Central Military Hospital 108. Hoang was the first Vietnamese and the fourth Asian person to receive a German award in the field of science. 
Military doctor makes history in transplanting limb from living donor - ảnh 1

Dr. Nguyen The Hoang, Deputy Director of Hanoi’s Central Military Hospital 108


In 2008, Dr. Nguyen The Hoang was among five who made history in world medicine by carrying out the world’s first double arm transplant in Munich, Germany. In 2013, Hoang returned to work at Hanoi’s Central Military Hospital 108. He had always nurtured a wish to perform such a surgery in Vietnam.

In 2020, Hoang and his colleagues performed the first successful limb transplant from a living donor. Pham Van Vuong was given a new left hand after losing it four years previously in a work accident. The surgery took 8 hours. Vuong recalled: “Doctor Hoang called me to inform me that I would receive a hand from a living donor. 4 days later, the surgery was performed. After the surgery, I was elated to see my new hand”.

After the surgery, Vuong was taught how to move the fingers of his new hand. A month later, he could hold objects.

According to the hospital, there have only been 89 successful limb transplants anywhere in the world, including 24 in the US, 13 in China, and 11 in France, but this is the first transplant of a hand donated by a living, conscious donor. Dr. Hoang has previously performed thousands of microsurgery and free-flap reconstructions. He said: “We must be very careful to ensure the patient’s safety. We need to take into consideration functioning so that the transplanted hand will function like a normal hand”.

After receiving the German science award, Hoang received many job offers, but he decided to return to Vietnam to work. He said: “I want to use what I have learned to contribute to Vietnamese medicine. Vietnam is my homeland”.

Dr. Hoang led a field surgical team during the years of fighting in Cambodia. Back then, Hoang, 22, had just graduated from the Military Medical Institute and volunteered to serve in a combat zone.