BOSTON (CBS) – A man who who survived a devastating illness has been approved for a double arm transplant.
Will Lautzenheiser, a former professor of film and screenwriting at Boston University developed a bacterial infection back in 2011 causing him to lose both his arms and legs.
He documented his experience in a short film called “Stumped.”
“After losing limbs, I haven’t been able to do anything spontaneously,” Lautzenheiser said. “It might take me 20 minutes to get myself dressed.”
“The frontiers are advancing and moving forward and we’re able to restore the human body to unprecedented levels,” said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
On Thursday, surgeons at Brigham and Women’s announced that Lautzenheiser has been approved for a double arm transplant.
The surgery will be a long one from 12 to 16 hours with a surgical team assigned to each arm. They will need to connect bones, arteries, muscles, tendons and veins. Lautzenheiser will likely be in the hospital for one to two weeks and undergo months to years of rehabilitation.
Doctors say it’s hard to predict how much function he will have in the end, but they are optimistic.
“Together, both hands, we have the goal of giving him a tremendous amount of independence,” said Dr. Simon Talbot.
“I hope the future will be a good one,” Lautzenheiser says.
The Brigham in collaboration with the New England Organ Bank will be searching for a suitable donor for Lautzenheiser. They also say if his arm transplants go well, Lautzenheiser could be considered for a leg transplant down the road.
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