A portable, ex-vivo limb perfusion system

Project status

Pilot underway


Scott Levin, MD

Ed Cantu, MD

Matt Winterton, MD

Foteini Mourkioti, PhD

Innovation leads


Center for Health Care Innovation

Mendez National Institute of Transplantation Foundation

Gift of Life

External partners



Limb reattachment and transplantation are complex surgical procedures that allow patients to have severed limbs reattached or transplanted to their bodies.

Historically, reattachment and transplantation have had to happen within six to twelve hours of a traumatic injury for the procedures to work. However, barriers such as the patient's clinical stability and a lack of readily available limbs often prevent surgeons from meeting this tight timeline.


We are working with a team of experts at Penn Medicine to develop Limbsalv, a portable, ex-vivo limb perfusion system that will keep limbs alive for up to 72 hours while maintaining tissue viability.


In practice, Limbsalv could drastically extend the time window in which limbs could be reattached or transplanted and therefore expand the donor pool of limbs for patients facing limb loss.

A research prototype has been developed, and experiments are underway to determine the physiological parameters required to keep a limb viable for reattachment or transplant. The current prototype maintains muscle viability for approximately 72 hours.