Chinese man's severed hand kept alive by attaching to ankle

Beijing, 17 December 2013: Chinese doctors kept a man's severed hand alive for a month by grafting it to his ankle before restoring it to its normal position, according to media reports today.


The right hand of 25-year-old Xiao Wei was sawn off by a drilling machine during an accident at work in the central Hunan province.


He could not have it reattached to his arm right away because the damage was so severe.


The hand was kept alive by attaching it to Xiao Wei's left ankle, just above his Achilles tendon, and "borrowing" blood supply from arteries in the leg, media reports said.


A month later, surgeons removed the hand and reattached it to his arm during a nine-hour surgery.


Severed limbs can be saved if their blood supply is restored within hours of an amputation.


Reports quoted doctors as saying that Xiao Wei will have to undergo several operations and rehabilitation therapy but they were hopeful he would regain full use of his hand.


The doctors said they did not reattach the hand immediately because his injuries were severe, including a flattened arm. These injuries had to be treated before the reattachment surgery.


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