Chinese Surgeons attaches patient’s severed hand to his leg

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A team of surgeons led by Dr Tang Juyu of the Xiangya Hospital in Chagsha, Central China, temporarily grafted a patient’s severed hand to his leg.

A factory worker, Zhou, lost his hand in an industrial accident involving a spinning blade machine while at work. The hand was grafted to his lower calf and connected to blood vessels in the region to keep the tissue alive.

The case posed a big risk to grafting the hand, as the tissue in his hand and arm also needed to be rebuilt. Usually, there is a great chance that the tissues might die or the rebuilding might fail in grafting cases.

However, the method worked in this case. After about a month, the blood vessels and tendons in Zhou’s arm healed and the doctors reattached the appendage to its original limb. Zhou has been reported to be able to move his fingers a little bit, and he will continue rehabilitation to try to recover full use of the hand again. X-rays have shown positive results after his hand was reattached.

Zhou would now go through a long process of physical therapy to keep his hands moving. Otherwise the joints and tendons will become stiff and no longer function.

In 2013, Dr Tang suggested a similar treatment for Xiao Wei, when he lost his right hand in a work accident. They were able to save it by grafting it to his ankle. The hand was reattached after his arm healed enough for the surgery.

Although the procedure is new to doctors in Pakistan, theoretically any part of the body can be attached to any other part, where blood is accessible. Chinese doctors call it “babysitting”.

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