Doctors in China save man’s severed hand by grafting it to his leg

The man, who has been identified as Mr. Zhou, lost his entire left hand several weeks ago in a spinning blade machine in the factory where he was working. A surgical team, led by Dr. Tang Juyu, carried out the procedure at the Xiangya Hospital in Changsha in central China.

Tang and the team decided they could not simply put the hand right back where it came from. “There were great risks to reattach the hand back directly to the arm, as tissues of the severed [area] were greatly damaged,” Tang told CNN.

Zhou, lost his entire left hand several weeks ago in a spinning blade machine in the factory where he was working.
There are big risks to grafting a hand as in Zhou’s case. The tissue in the hand and arm also had to be rebuilt and this procedure could fail.

Instead they grafted the hand to Zhou’s lower right calf, and connected it to blood vessels in the region to keep the tissue alive. The operation was a “race against time” to get the blood supply back to the severed hand, Tang said.

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.
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.

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 rehab to try to recover full use of the hand again.

Credits: Carina Storrs, Special to CNN

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