THE world's first-ever patient to undergo a double leg transplant is now walking in a swimming pool, reveals his surgeon, Pedro Cavadas.
Dr Cavadas, a pioneering and internationally-renowned medic who runs a foundation bearing his name in Africa, into which he invests all his spare cash, successfully carried out the first face transplant in the world to include a new jaw and tongue in 2009 on a 43-year-old man who had become disfigured due to a massive facial tumour.
Three years previously, he conducted the first-ever hand and lower arm transplant using a donor's limb on a Colombian woman, Alba Lucía, whom he discharged from his outpatient's consultancy in early 2008.
And in 2008, Cavadas successfully reimplanted a severed lower leg on a young man who had suffered a serious accident at work.
To keep the disembodied limb 'alive' whilst the stump healed sufficiently, Dr Cavadas firstly attached the leg to the patient's groin and then to his left foot.
This year, Cavadas became the world's first surgeon to replace two legs severed above the knee on a patient in his 20s, using a donor's limbs.
The operation took place – like all the previous interventions – at Valencia's La Fe hospital, in July, and the patien was discharged two weeks later.
He is now carrying out daily physiotherapy at the Clínica Cavadas, which the doctor owns and runs, and has reached the stage of being able to walk in a swimming pool whilst holding onto the edge.
Cavadas says it will be 'many months' before the patient can walk unaided, but says that no complications have arisen since the operation.