Leading US surgeon headlines conference

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The lead surgeon in the team which carried out America’s first ever bilateral hand transplant will be speaking at a major symposium on hand and face transplantation in Birmingham next week.

Professor WP Andrew Lee
Professor WP Andrew Lee

In 2009 Professor WP Andrew Lee’s team at the University of Pittsburgh replaced the hands of Jeff Kepner, who had lost both hands and both feet due to an infection ten years earlier.

Prof Lee is Chair of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and President of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. In 2008 he helped to found the American Society for Reconstructive Transplantation and he was elected the Chairman of the Plastic Surgery Research Council in 2002.

Prof Lee will be speaking at the Composite Tissue Allograft Symposium at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) on October 11. The symposium will bring together leading British transplant surgeons, including the leaders of the London Face Transplant Programme and Oxford Abdominal Wall Transplant Programme.

Prof Lee will speak twice, providing an overview of the current transplant programme at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and discussing the translation of basic science research into new practice in the field.

Also speaking at the event will be Prof Peter Butler who leads the London Face Transplant Programme, Prof Simon Kay from the Leeds Hands Transplant Programme and Prof Peter Friend from the Oxford Abdominal Wall Transplant Programme.

The event will feature two debates, chaired by Surgeon Captain Mark Midwinter and Major Shean Hettiaratchy, about the role of the Defence Medical Service in researching and carrying out these complex transplants.

The symposium is hosted by the NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre (SRMRC), a national centre for trauma research, taking discoveries from the military frontline to improve outcomes for all patients.

Based at the QEHB, the SRMRC brings together pioneering advances in surgery and infection by both military and civilian scientists as well as clinicians to deliver excellence in innovation in a complex area of acute care.

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