Double Arm Transplant: Iraq Veteran Talks About The Landmark Surgery

A double arm transplant was performed on soldier, Sgt. Brendan Marrocco. The landmark surgery occurred at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The 26-year-old soldier discussed the double arm transplant surgery for the first time on Tuesday. The Staten Island native lost both arms and both legs when an IUD explored near him in Iraq.

Brendan Marrocco, who also served in Afghanistan, heroically noted that he doesn’t regret a thing, when asked about the loss of four limbs while serving his country. The heroic and patriotic young man is the first soldier to ever receive a double arm transplant. Marrocco lost his left arm below the elbow and his right arm above the elbow, USA Today notes.

The Iraq veteran also lost both legs above the knee. The roadside bomb explosion occurred in 2009 on Easter Sunday. The young veteran is one of only seven patients to have successfully undergone double arm transplants in the United States.

The surgery took approximately 12 hours to perform. A team of doctors at John Hopkins Hospital performed the double arm transplant on December 18. It will reportedly take at least a year to determine if Brendan Marrocco will be able to use the new arms, according to the Washington Post.

Plastic surgeon Andrew Lee noted detailed the process involved with a double arm transplant during a Tuesday morning press conference. The surgical team worked to connect bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, tendons, and skin on both arms.

Brendan Marrocco had this to say during a press conference:

“It feels amazing. Something I have been waiting for, for a long, long, time. I don’t really know what to say. It feels fantastic. I just want to be able to get the most out of these arms.”

Sgt. Marrocco is currently living in home in Rhode Island, while his Hurricane Sandy damaged home is being rebuilt.

Although double arm transplant patients have never been able to regain full usage of their arms, the limbs have been functional. Past patients have reportedly been able to use chopsticks, put hair in a ponytail, and tie shoe laces. Brendan Marrocco is already able to move his arms a little bit. The heroic veteran referred to himself on his Facebook page as a “wounded warrior, very wounded.”

Thank you for your service Sgt. Marrocco.

[Image Via: Brendan Marrocco Twitter]