World's First Successful Face and Double Hand Transplant Performed in New York, Hospital Says

A New York hospital has said it performed the world’s first successful face and double hand transplant on a burn victim on August 12. NYU Langone Health released video on February 3 showing the patient recovering from the surgery.

According to the hospital, 22-year-old Joe DiMeo received third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body as a result of a car crash in July 2018.

Despite difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of over 140 medical professionals, led by Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, performed the face and double hand transplant on August 12 in approximately 23 hours, NYU Langone Health said.

Following the surgery, DiMeo continued physical, occupational, and speech therapy. “The rehabilitation demands on Joe are greater than any of our previous face transplant patients,” said Dr. Rodriguez, according to the hospital’s press release. “With the added element of his hand therapy, Joe has performed up to five hours of rehabilitation daily—and he is constantly pushing for more. He’s completely focused on his goal of gaining greater independence and freedom.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime gift, and I hope the family can take some comfort knowing that part of the donor lives on with me,” DiMeo said. “My parents and I are very grateful that I’ve been given this second chance. We’re also incredibly thankful to Dr. Rodriguez and the team of therapists, nurses, and surgeons who helped me get to where I am today.” Credit: NYU Langone Health via Storyful