SURGEONS saved a man’s amputated hand by sewing it to his groin.
The limb was left dangling by a sliver of flesh and bone after carpenter Anthony Lelliott sliced through it with a power saw.
‘Most complex’ amputation
As well as cutting through the base of his left palm, the mishap saw him lose two of his fingers.
Medics at St George’s Hospital in South London said it was the “most complex” amputation they had ever seen and worked through the night to re-attach the hand and missing digits.
But after 13 hours of emergency surgery they realised the skin on his palm would not survive.
In a bid to save the injured limb, they grafted it to Anthony’s groin.
It allowed some of the skin from his nether regions to slowly transfer to his damaged hand.
After two weeks, doctors carried out a second operation to close the wound.
Anthony said he expected to lose his hand after it got caught in a chop saw when he was cutting flooring.
‘Blood was squirting everywhere’
The dad-of-two, 46, lost a lot of blood and struggles to remember much about his accident in May.
He said: “I threw myself off the saw. I don’t know whether it was my brain playing tricks on me, but it was like an out of body experience; I could see myself and see what I’d done.
“There was blood squirting out everywhere.
“All I remember was coming through the doors into A&E and being greeted by a phenomenal amount of people.
“The care I’ve received has been fantastic and I’ve got so much gratitude for everyone.
“Words can’t describe it because I was expecting to wake up without a hand. It’s just trying to get it to work now. It’s unbelievable really, I’m so grateful.”
Consultant Plastic Surgeon Mr Roger Adlard was on call when Anthony was rushed to hospital.
He said: “I’ve done maybe three or four hand amputations in my lifetime – most units will see one or two every year.
“I’d say it’s probably the most complex amputation I’ve had to deal with.
“There are many surgeons who, once they’d seen that level of injury, would think it was unsalvageable.”
Off duty plastic surgeon Miss Farida Ali dashed back to the hospital to assist with the operation.
Each medic took it in turns to take nerve and vein grafts from Anthony’s foot and forearm to help repair is hand.
He added: “In that first operation I wanted to re-attach and get blood and nerve supply to as many of the fingers as possible.
“After fixing the broken bones we harvested nerve and vein grafts.
“This involved taking veins from his foot and nerves from his forearm and using them to bridge the gaps between the structures in his hand.”
But after they finished their surgery, they realised there was not enough skin to close the wound.
Mr Adlard said: “The next problem was there wasn’t enough skin to cover the exposed delicate microvascular repairs in his palm, so we decided to attach his hand to his groin to borrow skin from there.
“This procedure is called a pedicled groin flap.”
“A section of skin in Anthony’s groin was cut and lifted like a flap to cover the missing skin from his hand. It was sewn in place and left there for two weeks.
“Eventually the skin from his groin grew new roots to where it had been transferred to his hand and we were able to cut his hand free.”
Although Anthony has lost one of his fingers, he has already regained some movement in his hand.