Surgeons at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio performed their first above-the-elbow arm replant on a 22-year-old trauma patient in 2016 and today the patient is thriving, according to an article by Lori Newman of BAMC Public Affairs.
“Kelsey Ward’s right arm was severed when a guardrail pierced the passenger-side window of her SUV in a car wreck,” according to the report. “San Antonio firefighters administered a life-saving tourniquet and were fortunate enough to find her arm in the wreckage. They packed it in ice and brought it to BAMC, one of two Level I Trauma Centers in San Antonio.”
Lt. Col. (Dr.) Joseph Alderete was the trauma surgeon on call in April 2016 when Ward was brought to the emergency department.
“Most of the time when someone has a limb amputated in the field the odds of replantation are minimal because the limb is crushed and not viable for replantation,” Alderete said. “The first responders were extremely smart in making sure she didn’t bleed out and that they put the limb on ice as fast as they could.”
The article details the surgical team’s efforts to perform nerve grafting without harvesting nerves from the patient’s leg. It also describes Ward’s successful rehabilitation therapy at BAMC’s Center for the Intrepid.