A 51-year-old man has become the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant.

Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary said the patient underwent the complex eight-hour procedure on December 27 when a donor hand became available.

They said a new technique was used which involved the recipient having his non-functioning right hand removed in the same operation as the donor hand was transplanted.

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This procedure allowed very accurate restoration of nerve structures and is believed to be the first time this approach has been used, surgeons said.

Consultant plastic surgeon Professor Simon Kay, said: "This operation is the culmination of a great deal of planning and preparation over two years by a team including plastic surgery, transplant medicine and surgery, immunology and psychology.

"It was extremely challenging to be the first team in the UK to carry out such a procedure. It is early days but indications are good and the patient is making good progress."