Two more transplant firsts: false teeth and double legs

A traffic accident victim received two donated legs in Spain, while an adult mouse can now use an artificially grown tooth implanted into its jaw.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor

Last week’s first synthetic organ transplant – a totally artificial windpipe – was pretty amazing. Well, here’re two transplant wins from this week.

1. World’s first double leg transplant

On Sunday, 2 donated legs were surgically transplanted onto an as-yet unidentified young man, who had lost his own legs in a traffic accident.

Transplants aren’t usually good options for leg amputees, since lots of prosthetic options are available. But because his lower limbs were amputated high on the thigh, he didn’t have enough tissue to attach prosthetic legs. He would have been consigned to a wheelchair with zero chance of walking again.

There was "no alternative,” according to Spain's National Transplant Organization last year, when giving the surgery the go-ahead.

The 10+ hour surgery at La Fe Hospital in Valencia, Spain involved reattaching blood vessels, pulling nerve vessels close together, and connecting muscles, tendons, and bone structures.

The surgical team was 50 strong and led by Pedro Cavadas, who carried out the first double arm transplant in Spain in 2008 (the second in the world); he also performed Spain’s face transplant in 2009.

If all goes well and the transplants aren’t rejected, the man will be able to move his new legs in 3 weeks, support his own weight with them in 3 months, and walk with crutches in about half a year. He’ll probably be able to feel sensations in his new legs in a year.

Via New Scientist, AFP.

2. Artificial tooth transplanted into mouse

Onwards with artificial replacements for donor organs in short supply!

Grown from embryonic cells, a bioengineered tooth was successfully transplanted into the jaw of a mouse.

After Takashi Tsuji at Tokyo University of Science in Japan and colleagues took cells destined to become teeth from mouse embryos, they implanted them into an adult mouse, beneath a membrane that surrounds the kidney. (They’re now working on ways to grow teeth outside the body.)

In just a couple months, the cells had developed into a molar and periodontal ligament, the fibers that attach teeth to bone (pictured).

They extracted the tooth and implanted it into the jawbone of another mouse. Within a month, blood vessels and nerves surrounded the transplant, and it started functioning as if it were a normal, native tooth.

The study was published in PLoS one. Via New Scientist.

Top image: musclebuildingprogramreviewed.com
Bottom image: Takashi Tsuji, Tokyo University of Science (via New Scientist)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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