News Release: Emory Healthcare , School of Medicine , Woodruff Health Sciences

Mar. 31,  2011

Hand and Vascularized Composite Transplant Experts Convene in Atlanta

10th International Hand and Composite Tissue Allotransplantation Society Conference, April 7-9, JW Marriott Atlanta, Buckhead

Hand and vascularized composite transplant experts from around the world will gather in Atlanta April 7-9 for the 10th Meeting of the International Hand and Composite Tissue Allotransplantation Society. The scientific meeting will include professionals involved in all aspects of donor hand and vascularized composite transplants, from the laboratory to patient care.

“This congress will be a unique venue for scientific exchange and discussion as well as an exceptional opportunity to establish, maintain and develop relationships with leaders in this multidisciplinary field,” says Linda Cendales, MD, local program organizing committee chair of the conference and director of the Emory University-Veterans Affairs Vascularized Composite Allograft Program.

The 10th meeting will foster integration and interactive participation among the multiple disciplines involved in vascularized composite allotransplantation, including surgery, immunology, organ donation and procurement, pathology, neurosciences, regenerative medicine, prosthetics and ethics. The three-day schedule will combine plenary sessions, breakout sessions and abstract presentations.

Vascularized composite allotransplantation refers to the transplantation of donor limbs and other intact body parts to replace non-reconstructable tissue defects, such as those created by traumatic amputations or congenital limb malformations. These transplants require unique surgical skills to repair crushed or mangled bone, vessels, muscle, tendon, skin and nerves.

Transplant patients also must take a regimen of immunosuppressant drugs, which often have side effects. Transplant scientists, including those at the Emory Transplant Center, are working to develop less toxic, more effective immunosuppressant drugs, which could impact the field of hand and tissue transplants.

Conference keynote speakers are Sir Roy Calne, FRS, professor of surgery at the University of Cambridge, UK; Sander L. Gilman, PhD, professor of liberal arts and sciences and psychiatry, Emory University; and Kathryn Wood, DPhil, FMedSci, professor of immunology, University of Oxford, UK. Other speakers and participants include leading international hand and vascularized composite transplant experts.

Vascularized composite transplantation continues to advance, with reported successful transplants of limbs, faces, knees, tracheae, and even a uterus. Because of the risks and side effects, however, and because many of these procedures are primarily driven by “quality-of-life” considerations, surgeons and patients must balance the benefits of transplantation against potential complications and side effects from medications.

The first hand transplant in the world was performed in 1964 in Ecuador. The longest currently surviving hand transplant in the world was performed in 1999 in Louisville, Ky at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery.   

Cendales, who has worked to develop one of the nation’s premier centers for reconstructive transplantation, recently performed Emory University’s first hand transplant:

For more information about the upcoming conference, visit:


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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