wheelchair amputee with doctors - Johns Hopkins photo by Keith WellerA quadruple-amputee GI from Staten Island proudly showed off his two newly transplanted arms yesterday by using them to push his wheelchair into a press conference — then vowed to drive a car again.

“The arms feel great!” said beaming Iraq War vet Brendan Marrocco, as he displayed his new limbs at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he underwent the extraordinary double transplant Dec. 18.

The 26-year-old U.S. soldier who lost all four limbs in a 2009 roadside bomb attack is now celebrated as the Baltimore hospital’s first bilateral arm transplant patient. The innovative treatment, which entails an infusion of the deceased donor’s bone marrow cells, was designed to prevent rejection of the new limbs.

So far it has succeeded in both preventing rejection and reducing the need for anti-rejection drugs, which can cause complications such as infection and organ damage.

Marrocco received a transplant of two arms from a deceased donor, becoming one of only seven people in the United States who have undergone successful double hand transplants.

His transplants involved the connection of bones, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, nerves and skin on both arms, and was the most extensive and complicated limb transplant procedure so far performed in the United States. Marrocco also agreed to participate in a study of the new anti-rejection regimen, which lead surgeon W.P. Andrew Lee, M.D., hopes to make the new standard of care for limb and face transplants. The study is sponsored by the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The infantryman and his surgeons spoke at press conference at The Johns Hopkins Hospital on January 29, 2013.

(WATCH the video below, or READ more of the story in the New York Post)

Johns Hopkins photo by Keith Weller- Thanks to everyone who sent links to this story.

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