In 1998, a woman”s hand was destroyed while doing industrial work, and doctors — as they”ve been doing for hundreds of years — sliced off her fingers. But instead of throwing them in a pile of discarded limbs like they would”ve during the Civil War, they sewed them to the woman”s forearm.
Surgical protocol for a destroyed hand these days may look horrifying, but it kind of makes sense when you think about it (and no, they weren”t trying to create a mutant). There”s a method to their madness, and it”s founded upon proven medical science.
For eight months, this woman lived with three of her fingers grafted to her forearm. The reason they did this was so that her fingers could get a continued blood supply while the rest of the hand was being rebuilt.
Why didn”t the doctors put her fingers farther up the arm so she could wear short sleeves? (Don”t worry, at least the fingers couldn”t move.)
The fingers were held on her arm while the palm was reconstructed. After a successful procedure, nerves were moved from her ankle to the new hand. A thumb was created from one of her toes, and finally, the grafted fingers were moved from her arm back to her hand.
The 12-hour surgery was a success. Toes up!
Because of successful cases like this, the preservation of body parts by way of temporary grafting is becoming a common surgical procedure.
As for this woman, she healed remarkably. After almost a year of physical therapy, she reached her own personal goal of cooking Sunday lunch for her family again.