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Evidence to Improve Care

Composite Tissue Transplant of Hand or Arm

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendation

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends against publicly funding composite tissue transplantation for hand or arm.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report

A severe injury or infection to a hand or arm can result in the need for amputation. In Canada, an estimated 227,000 people have had either an arm or a leg amputated.

Patients who have experienced hand or arm amputation may be able to undergo a transplant procedure known as composite tissue transplantation. This complex procedure involves connecting a deceased donor’s hand or arm to a person’s bone, muscles, nerves, skin and other tissue.

Health Quality Ontario Reviews Composite Tissue Transplant of Hand or Arm

Hand and arm transplants have been performed in several countries. Health Quality Ontario looked at the safety and effectiveness of hand and arm transplants, and also looked at how much these transplants cost and whether they are cost-effective.

Composite Tissue Transplant of Hand or Arm: A Health Technology Assessment (PDF)
June 2016

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The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: As recommended by HQO and due to the uncertain clinical benefit, the Ministry has no plans to provide further dedicated program funding for hand or arm transplants beyond existing commitments.

Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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