A man who received the world’s first full double arm transplant told how he can now flex his donor biceps.
Felix Gretarsson, 49, lost his upper limbs after he was electrocuted while trying to fix a power line.
The grandfather-of-two woke up in agony following the 15-hour op but after hundreds of hours of rehabilitation he can now move his new arms.
Felix said: “The feeling in the nerves can be a little painful when they grow.
“I am moving the elbow in water, my bicep is now working.
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“I am so hopeful I am going to be able to move my hands as well which nobody expected – except me.”
The former electrician had a double arm and shoulder transplant in January – on the 23rd anniversary of his accident.
On January 12, 1998, Felix was sent out to fix a power line but touched the wrong wire and fell 32ft to the ground.
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As well as breaking his back in three places and fracturing his neck, his arms also caught fire.
Felix, of Kopavogur, Iceland, spent three months in a coma while doctors carried out 54 operations – including the amputations – to save his life.
After waking up, he went off the rails and started abusing drink and drugs to help him cope.
He lost his career and girlfriend and could not see his two daughters, now aged 27 and 23.
Felix ended up in rehab and had two liver transplants in less than a year.
He said: “From there my life went straight up, I bought myself a company, a flat, a car I could drive with my feet.”
Felix was fitted with prosthetics but still yearned for real arms.
In 2007, he saw a TV advert for a lecture by surgeon Dr Jean-Michel Dubernard, who had performed the first successful hand transplant.
He tracked him down and quizzed him on the possibility of full arm transplants.
Felix then moved to Lyon in France where he met his wife Sylwia Gretarsson, 33, before getting his transplant at the local Hopital Edouard Herriot.
He said: “I have achieved something that wasn’t supposed to be possible.
“If I hadn’t lost my arms I wouldn’t be living in France with my wife. There’s always a silver lining to everything.”
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