The donation and transplant of hands (or any limb) is unusual and complicated.

According to Gift of Life (Michigan) hand donation and transplantation is a lengthy procedure that involves the transplantation of skin, bone, blood vessels, muscles, nerves and connective tissue. The program tries, officials said, to match the recipient’s hand size and skin tone with that of the donor’s.

“This is one more example of the advances being made in medicine,”… “But the foundation for the advances is the selflessness of donors and their families to say yes to helping and saving others.”

Hand transplantation is relatively rare and involves using nerves from the recipient regenerating into the transplanted organ so that the recipient can begin feeling sensations, such as hot or cold, soft or hard, pressure or pain. Patients can move a new hand relatively soon, but how quickly they regain feeling and sensations vary, researchers say, according to the Associated Press.