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Hand Therapy Regimen for Functional Recovery Following Combined Face and Bilateral Hand Transplantation

Boczar, Daniel; Seu, Monica; O'Connell, April; Gersh, Eugene; Chaya, Bachar F; Berman, Zoe; Ruiz, Natalia; Welsh, Laura; Rodriguez, Eduardo D
Intensive postoperative rehabilitation therapy is associated with positive functional recovery in hand transplants (HTs). Our goal is to share the hand therapy protocol developed for our patient who underwent a combined face and bilateral HT. The patient is a 23-year-old right-hand-dominant male with a history of third-degree burns to 80% of his body following a motor vehicle accident. A multidisciplinary evaluation established his candidacy for a combined face and bilateral HT, and surgery took place in August 2020. Our individualized hand therapy protocol consisted of 4 phases. The pre-surgery phase focused on planning the orthotics and patient/caregivers' education on the rehabilitation process. The intensive care unit (ICU)/acute care phase involved hand allograft protection and positioning via orthotic fabrication, safe limb handling, and edema/wound management. The inpatient rehabilitation phase aimed to prepare the patient for independent living via neuromuscular and sensory re-education, improvement of upper extremities strength/flexibility, training basic activities of daily living, and providing a home exercise program (HEP). Finally, the outpatient phase aimed to maximize our patient's range of motion and independency in performing his routine activities and HEP. The patient's post-transplant functional outcomes showed a significant improvement compared to the pre-operative baseline. We hope this report sheds light on a comprehensive hand therapy program in HT.
PMID: 36214276
ISSN: 1558-9455
CID: 5360832