Boston hospital to offer hand transplants for kids

Health Care
Posted at 8:36 AM, Jun 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-17 04:42:31-04

UNDATED (AP) — The latest effort by a Boston hospital underscores a growing willingness to do transplant surgery to enhance lives, not just save them.

Boston Children's Hospital is starting the world's first hand transplant program for children, and doctors say it won't be long until face transplants and other operations to improve appearance and quality of life are offered to kids, too.

Doctors say it's clear from adult surgeries that these operations are safe enough for children in certain cases.

The main risk for children is the immune-suppressing drugs that prevent rejection but carry side effects.

However, Dr. Simon Horslen of Seattle Children's Hospital explains that the expanding knowledge of immune suppression makes it less of a risk for children than previously. He also notes that quality of life transplants won't be done as emergency procedures so parents will have time to ponder.