MDs Announce Estonia's First Stem Cell Transplant ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Scanpix/Postimees

In a national first, doctors at Tartu University Hospital say they have successfully transplanted a patient's own stem cells in an operation aimed at restoring range of movement in a severely injured hand and forearm. 

The patient, an 18-year-old woman, had lost the use of her hand due to scarring from a fire in her childhood, Postimees reported.

Today, six months after the operation, the woman is able to fully extend her fingers and her wrist is properly aligned, doctors say.

The April 16 operation was led by surgeon Romek Märtsin and nurse Külly Tumala. Adipose tissue removed by liposuction was processed with a Cytori device to extract stem cells, which were then injected into the patient's hand and forearm, the daily reported.

The stem cells - added in the first procedure - and adipose tissue grafted on later helped restore the tissues lost in the fire and soften scar tissue, the doctors said.