Hand transplant lead surgeon leaving Louisville

Posted by Christi Reynard - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Dr. Warren Breidenbach, the lead surgeon on the latest groundbreaking double-hand transplant in Louisville, is leaving Jewish Hospital.

Marty Bonick, CEO of Jewish Hospital, says Dr. Breidenbach is leaving to practice at the University of Arizona, but continuing to still be involved with the hand transplant program in Louisville.

Dr. Richard Edwards, a chiropractor from Oklahoma, was just the third person in the country to receive two new hands.

Edwards lost both hands when his truck caught fire on February 11, 2006. Unable to escape the burning vehicle, he was severely burned on his face, back, arms and hands, leaving very little tissue in both hands.

Breidenbach led the team of surgeons from Kleinert Kutz, Christine M. Kleinert Institute and the University of Louisville who performed the initial 17-1/2 hour surgical procedure August 24-25, 2010, at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center. He continues to manage Dr. Edwards' follow-up care.

Statement from Kleinert Kutz and Associates

Kleinert and Kutz Hand Care Center and Christine M. Kleinert Institute can confirm that Dr. Warren Breidenbach has expressed his intention to accept a position with the University of Arizona as its chief of the Division of Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery. Kleinert and Kutz's role in the Louisville hand transplant program remains strong and its team of hand surgeons, including Dr. Breidenbach, are committed to working with Jewish Hospital and the University of Louisville to maintain our leadership in the field of hand transplantation research. The team of surgeons, including Dr. Breidenbach, will continue their collaborative efforts in the field of hand transplantation.

Although his final departure date is still undetermined, his regular patients are being informed of this pending change and have been offered a choice to establish their care with other Kleinert Kutz hand surgeons.

Statement from Jewish Hospital, Marty Bonick, President/CEO Jewish Hospital Medical Center

We are proud of the accomplishments and success of the composite tissue allotransplantation (hand transplant) program that was established at Jewish Hospital in partnership with Kleinert and Kutz Hand Care Center and the University of Louisville in 1997. Dr. Warren Breidenbach has championed this program for 13 years. Although he is leaving Louisville, he is still a part of the hand transplant team and we are very supportive of him and his work. We will continue to work with him and build on the research that has been already established in the hand transplant program.

To date, seven hands have been transplanted on six patients by the team of physicians at Kleinert and Kutz at Jewish Hospital. Hand transplants are very complex surgeries which take a team to perform each time. Each surgery has lasted between 12 to 15 hours.

Copyright WAVE and Raycom Media.  All Rights Reserved.