updated 7/11/2011 4:14:35 PM ET 2011-07-11T20:14:35

Doctors in Spain have carried out the world's first double leg transplant, giving new lower limbs to a patient who lost both legs at mid-thigh in an accident, officials said Monday.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

The Valencia regional government said the surgical team was led by Dr. Pedro Cavadas, who in 2009 carried out Spain's first face transplant — the first anywhere to include a new tongue and jaw.

The government statement said the operation at La Fe Hospital in Valencia was extremely complex and Cavadas will wait at least 48 hours to release more information.

"Today we can say a landmark has been reached," said Dr. Rafael Matesanz, director of the National Transplant Organization.

Another official at the organization, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with departmental policy, said the operation began Sunday night, and lasted about 13 or 14 hours.

The official would not give details as to how the patient is doing, other than to say if the limbs are rejected this will happen more or less immediately. He added that it will be a month or so before doctors know how successful the surgery has been.

Doctors originally tried to give the patient artificial legs, but the operation was unsuccessful as the patient had lost them so high.

The operation was approved in 2010 and since then doctors have been waiting for legs to be donated.

No information was given on the donor or the recipient.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments