Veteran Mission | Staten Island, NY

This approach is aimed at helping his body accept the new limbs with minimal medication to prevent rejection. The military is sponsoring operations like these to help wounded troops. About 300 have lost arms or hands in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Marrocco family wishes to thank the donor’s family for “making a selfless decision, making a difference in Brendan’s life,” the father said.

The 13-hour operation was led by Dr. Andrew Lee, plastic surgery chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, and is the seventh double hand, double arm transplant, ever completed in the U.S. Dr. Lee was responsible for leading 3 of the earlier medical operations, during his previous medical work conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, including the only above-elbow transplant that had ever been done at the time in 2010.

“Mr. Marrocco’s medical procedure was the most complicated thus far,” the surgeon said during an interview, adding that it will take more than a year to know how fully Mr. Marrocco will be able to use the new arms. “The maximum recovery speed is approximately 1 inch per month for nerve regeneration,” he explained. “We’re easily looking at a couple years before the full extent of recovery is known.”