New surgeon to lead hand transplant team at Jewish

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new surgeon has been appointed to lead the hand transplant team at Jewish Hospital.

Dr. Michael Marvin is a transplant surgeon for U of L and Jewish hospital and is already a member of the team. He replaces Dr. Warren Breidenbach, the surgeon who pioneered hand transplantation in the U.S. but recently left Louisville to start a hand transplant program at the University of Arizona.

"My plan is to try and continue the great program that had been in existence for several years. This program did the first hand transplant in the country and we hope to continue to move the entire process forward and expand it as best we can," said Marvin.

The program at Jewish Hospital in collaboration with the University of Louisville and Kutz and Kleinert  hand surgeons has done more hand transplants than any other program in the country.Six patients and seven hands have been transplanted there, including the double hand transplant performed on Dr. Rich Edwards of Utah in August of 2010.

Edwards continues to recover after suffering several setbacks requiring additional surgeries, which resulted in the removal of some of his fingertips.

Marvin says the program will continue, and expand, and it's possible it could be expanded to include the possibility of a face transplant, which has been done at several other surgical centers. Jewish Hospital President and CEO Marty Bonick says the team is researching face transplants as the next step in the field.

"We've got a team that's evaluating face transplants," Bonick said. "It's a little bit more controversial and there's a lot of ethical considerations that have to be taken into consideration when doing a transplant like that, so at this point we don't have any active plans to move forward with that but some of our researchers are looking at doing in the future."

"I think it's a possibility," said Marvin. "We're well known for the composite tissue transplantation and I think it's a logical step."

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