Doctors in China had attached a resident’s severed hand to his leg so to keep it alive while his arm had time to heal from the severe damage it received in an industrial accident.
Xiao Wei cut off his right hand in the machine at his job, but his right arm was so smashed that surgeons were unable to attach it until the arm’s bone structure had been repaired. Right after it happened, Xiao said that he was absolutely shocked and completely frozen to the spot where he was standing. He said he could not move until some of his co-workers were able to unplug the machine that had hurt him by grabbing his arm. They somehow removed it and retrieved his hand and rushed him to the hospital.
Mr. Xiao was able to talk somewhat after surgery and also said that he was still young and stated he could not imagine life without having a right hand.
One of Mr. Xiao’s physician’s explained that his injuries were very severe. Besides ripping wounds, his arm also had been flattened. The injuries had to be cleaned up and repaired before attempting the surgery to reattach the hand.
In order to keep his right hand from dying, surgeons from the Changsha region of China decided to graft it to the ankle of Xiao’s left leg so it could have a good supply of blood from the leg’s artery in order to keep the muscles in the hand from dying. They grafted it onto his leg in a last ditch effort to attempt to save it.
The hand stayed attached to the leg for an entire month before it was reattached in its proper position at the end of Mr. Xiao’s right arm. By doing what they did, it seemed to work because the hand seemed to appear in very good condition when the surgeons went to reattach it back onto the young man’s arm.
Doctors in China are hoping the hand will in time recover the majority of both its function and movement but there will be many more surgical procedures to come. It is expected that after all the surgeries have been completed, the young man should have the full use of his hand back. However even then, he is going to need extensive months of therapy because his injuries were so severe.
It is reported that even though surgeons in China are very experienced at microsurgery, the ankle is one spot on the body which is hard to graft. Surgeons will try to avoid that area and instead go with the armpit because it has a better supply of blood. Nevertheless, they had no choice but to attach Xiao’s hand to his leg because of it’s shape and size. Even with the difficulty of the surgery, it seems to have proven a success.
The China resident is reported to be doing as well as can be expected for a man who had his severed hand attached to his leg.
By Kimberly Ruble