Doctors in Spain have carried out the world's first double leg transplant, giving new lower limbs to a patient who lost both legs at mid-thigh in an accident, officials said yesterday. The surgical team was led by Dr. Pedro Cavadas, who in 2009 carried out Spain's first face transplant—the first anywhere to include a new tongue and jaw. The operation in Valencia was extremely complex: An unnamed official says the surgery began Sunday night and lasted about 13 or 14 hours.
The official would not give details as to how the patient is doing, other than to say if the limbs are rejected this will happen more or less immediately. He added that it will be a month or so before doctors know how successful the surgery has been. Doctors originally tried to give the patient artificial legs, but the operation failed because the patient had lost his legs so high. The operation was approved in 2010 and since then doctors have been waiting for legs to be donated. (Read more Spain stories.)