(CNN) – A U.S. Army infantryman who lost all four limbs in a 2009 roadside explosion in Iraq has undergone radical transplant surgery that may help him regain use of his arms.
Last month, the 26-year-old infantryman had successful surgery – a rare double arm transplant – at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Brendan Marrocco is one of only seven people in the country to successfully undergo the surgery, and the first quadruple-amputee soldier, according to Johns Hopkins.
The surgery, which took 13 hours and 16 orthopaedic and microvascular surgeons from five hospitals – was also the first bilateral arm transplant performed at Johns Hopkins. All of the surgeons volunteered their services; the surgery and rehabilitation costs were paid by the Department of Defense’s Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine and Hopkins.
The team of surgeons rehearsed the procedure on cadaver arms four times over the past 18 months, said lead surgeon Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee, director of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins.
This morning on “Starting Point,” Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee and Dr. Gerald Brandacher with Johns Hopkins Medical Center describe the technique used in the surgery, and Marrocco’s prognosis.