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• A farmer who lost both his arms in a combine harvester accident now has new ones – thanks to the world’s first complete double arm transplant.

Karl Merk, 54, lost his two limbs just below the shoulder more than six years ago.

But thanks to 40 medical workers, including surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and other helpers, the 54-year-old has had two new arms attached.

Mr Merk, a farmer from Germany, can already perform some basic tasks after the surgery but it could take up to two years before he relearns how to use his hands.

He told reporters at Munich University Clinic, where the operation was done, that it was “overwhelming” having two arms again.

He said:”You cannot imagine this feeling after living without arms for six years.

“These are my arms, and I’m not giving them away again.”

Mr Merk said that when he first woke up, he could not believe the operation had been successful.

So far, he has been using his new arms to open doors and turn lights on and off.

His ultimate goals are to eat and dress himself – and ride a motorcycle.

Doctors said there were good indications of nerve growth in the limbs and he could be allowed to go home in four to six weeks.

During that time, he will have to continue an intensive programme of physiotherapy, electrical stimulation and psychological counselling.

There is also still a risk that Mr Merk’s immune system will react to the new appendages.

But doctors said so far there was no sign of them being rejected.


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