There are a significant number of factors to consider when determining who would be an appropriate candidate for a leg transplant. First and foremost, we are looking for candidates who suffer from lower extremity amputation following burns, trauma, tumors, or congenital deformities. Listed below are some of the eligibility factors that we consider:
All patients must be at between 18 and 60 years of age.
Patients must have a strong motivation to proceed with transplant and accept dedicating at least two years toward extensive post-transplant rehabilitation.
The time between the injury and the transplant must be more than six months, but less than 15 years.
Patients must report less than optimal outcomes with lower extremity prostheses, as evaluated by an experienced physical therapist, during a minimal trial period of six months.
Patients must be willing to take immunosuppressants – drugs that help prevent rejection of the transplant – for the rest of their lives.
Women who are pregnant must wait until at least six weeks after the completion of their pregnancy before a transplant can be considered.
There also are a lot of factors to consider when looking for an appropriate leg transplant donor, and we work closely with the New England Organ Bank (NEOB) to help us with this challenging search. Here are just a few of the characteristics that we evaluate:
Skin color, texture, and size of the leg should be similar to that of the patient.
Time is critical when recovering the leg from a donor, so the donor must be located within a four-hour travel radius of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The donor’s family must provide consent. Self consent to organ and tissue donation, such as can be done on a motor vehicle license application, does not apply to leg tissue donation.