After a factory worker in China had his hand severed in an accident with a spinning blade machine, doctors figured out a very unusual way to save the appendage.
It all started when a factory worker named Zhou was rushed to Xiangya Hospital in Changsha after his hand was chopped off in the accident. After examining the patient, Dr Tang Juyu, head of microsurgery at the hospital, decided that his team would try to save Zhou’s hand by performing a risky operation they had done once before in 2013 under similar circumstances.
Because Zhou’s arm and hand were badly wounded in the accident, doctors could not reattach it right away. According to Daily Mail, they chose to instead let the nerves and tendons heal with time by attaching Zhou’s left hand to his right ankle.
“Under normal temperatures, a severed finger needs to resume blood supply within 10 hours, but that time is even shorter for a separated limb,” the doctor explained. “If a limb is short of blood for too long, its tissues die and it will be unsalvageable.”
Zhou’s hand healed on his ankle for over a month before doctors reattached it to his arm in a ten hour surgery. Dr. Tang told the press that Zhou can now move his fingers a little bit, but that he will need lots of rehabilitation before he can fully use his hand again.
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