In 1963, sequestered from the international medical community and its accumulated expertise, Chen Chung-Wei, MD, performed the world's first successful replantation of a severed hand at Number Six People's Hospital, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
Now Number Six People's Hospital is one of five replantation centers in that country. Since 1973, also, Chinese surgeons have been in communication with surgeons from other countries. Consequently, they have paid more attention to microsurgery than in the past, when they were using only low-power magnification.
Chen, who heads the orthopedic department and is deputy director of the hospital, reported on his work at the recent Joint International Surgical Conference in San Francisco. Increasing use of microsurgery in China, Chen said, has raised the survival rate for limb replantations from about 50% to about 90%.
The first instrument used for replantations in China was a jeweler's loop. Sun Lee, MD, professor of experimental surgery