Our Multidisciplinary Team

Emory's Hand Transplant Program is led by Dr. Linda Cendales. Dr. Cendales is the only physician in the U.S. formally trained in hand surgery, microsurgery, and transplant surgery. In 2007, Dr. Cendales established a comprehensive program at Emory University School of Medicine, which provides patients with excellence in clinical care, is a leader in innovation through research, and trains the next generation of experts in Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation (VCA), the transplantation of limbs and other intact body parts. "The future of this field relies on surgeons who understand the immune biology as well as the technical and rehabilitation aspects of VCA," says Dr. Cendales. "We need to start training surgeons in VCA."

Originally from Colombia, Dr. Cendales attended medical school in Mexico City. She completed a fellowship in Hand and Microsurgery at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery in Louisville, KY in 1997 and then completed a fellowship in transplant surgery at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, in 2001.

Since coming to Emory and the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Dr. Cendales has established the systematic study of vascularized composite allotransplantation. At Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center she continues the work she began at the NIH on composite transplantation and a classification system for the severity of skin rejection after transplantation. "We have established a complete program leading from the laboratory bench to the bedside," she says.

Emory's multidisciplinary hand transplantation team includes:

Transplant Surgeon

The transplant surgeon will perform your transplant surgery and will be in charge of your care immediately following your surgery.

Transplant Infectious Disease Physicians

Since transplant patients take medications to prevent the immune system from attacking their new organ, the transplant infectious disease physician provides consultation for infectious disease management in transplant recipients. They provide pre- and post-transplant vaccination and individual treatment plans for preventing infections.

G. Marshall Lyon, MD

G. Marshall Lyon, MD
Director, Transplant Infectious Diseases

Aneesh Mehta, MD

Aneesh Mehta, MD
Assistant Director, Transplant Infectious Diseases

Physician assistants (PAs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs)

Physician assistants (PAs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) members of the transplant team who practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. The PA or NP may obtain your medical history, perform your physical exam and supervise your transplant evaluation. He or she will educate you about transplantation. After transplant, the PA or NP will follow your progress in the hospital as well as in the transplant clinic.

Transplant Coordinators

A transplant coordinator is a registered nurse specially trained to care for patients before and after transplantation. Transplant coordinators work in different stages of the transplant process. One coordinator will be responsible for obtaining the results of your evaluation. This coordinator will serve as your main contact from the time of your evaluation until the time of your transplant. Additional coordinators will follow your progress in the hospital and provide follow-up care at each clinic visit after you are discharged.

Social Worker

Social workers are available for evaluation and supportive counseling for you and your family throughout the phases of transplant. If you need information about local housing, fundraising, and other transplant resources, the transplant social worker can assist you.

Physical Therapist

A physical therapist may help pre-transplant patients understand what exercises are prescribed by the transplant pulmonologist. He or she is specially trained to help you regain your strength after surgery and will refer you to a pulmonary rehabilitation program in the early weeks after transplant. Exercise is important to your recovery. It can reduce complications after transplant surgery, improve your endurance and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist will meet with you during the evaluation to obtain a general mental health history. He or she can identify personal or social situations that may affect the likelihood of a successful outcome after transplant. Psychiatric help is available for any developing needs or concerns.

Pharmacist

A pharmacist will begin working with you after your transplant. It is important for you to clearly understand your medications and how each affects your body. The transplant pharmacist, along with your transplant coordinator and nurses, will explain the actions, dosages and side effects of your medications. The pharmacist will be available to answer questions during your hospitalization and after transplant.

Chaplain

A chaplain is on call 24 hours a day to visit with you while you are at Emory University Hospital. The chaplain can help you and your family deal with the emotional and spiritual issues that can be associated with transplantation.

Staff Nurses

Staff nurses are responsible for monitoring your daily care in the hospital. They will teach you how to check your vital signs and identify any signs of infection. They will help you learn how and when to take your new transplant medications. Staff nurses play an important role in alerting the team to any potential problems.