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Iraq war veteran undergoes a double arm transplant

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Updated: 1/29/2013 5:45 pm
NBC NEWS -- Cutting up with his brother, and cracking up a room full of doctors and media at a press conference in Baltimore, 26-year-old Brendan Marrocco just doesn't seem like a guy who has been through so much bad.

Brendan lost both of his arms and both of his legs in a roadside blast while serving as an Army Infantryman in Iraq in 2009.

Legs, he says, he could live without, but his arms he hated losing them.

"Even your personality you talk with your hands...you do everything with your hands, when you don't have that, you're kind of lost for awhile," said Marrocco.

6 weeks ago a team of surgeons at the Johns Hopkins Hospital performed a successful double arm transplant on Brendan.

To cut down the need for anti-rejection drugs which carry the potential for infections and organ damage, the Johns Hopkins team gave Brendan an infusion of the deceased donor's bone marrow cells.

Full range of movement will take years, and nerves grow at a maximum speed of one inch per month.

Brendan has a lot of work ahead of him with six hours of intensive hand therapy.

He has already shown the world he is up for the challenge.

-- Erika Edwards | NBC Reports
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