Man's thumb rebuilt using toe, knee bones in first-of-its-kind surgery
Maryland surgeons rebuilt a patient's entire thumb last month using a bone from his knee and a toe.
Samuel Dillsworth, 45, of Glen Burnie, arrived at MedStar Union Memorial by medevac in November with an injury known as a complete thumb avulsion amputation.
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital Drs. James Higgins and Ryan Katz of the Curtis National Hand Center conducted the complex microsurgery using two simultaneous tissue flaps to reconstruct a thumb that was completely amputated in a miter saw accident.
Two flaps were used to reconstruct the thumb. It's usually done with one flap from the toe, but in this case, one transfer from the toe wasn't going to be long enough.
To make sure the toe and knee bones survived after transfer to the hand, the doctors performed two simultaneous complicated microvascular surgeries together.
They harvested the tissue from the foot and the knee, each carefully removed with their attached small blood vessels that would enable them to live in their new locations.
"I haven’t smiled so much in a long time," Dillsworth said. "When they pulled the bandages off my hand, I was afraid it would look freaky because my thumb was my toe, but it looks great. The next day, I was actually moving my thumb."