A 15-member surgical team at Louis Pasteur Faculty Hospital in Košice performed a rare micro-surgical operation in which a woman's toe was transplanted to her own hand on February 9. The surgery has preserved the "basic functions of the hand" for the patient, who had lost all of her fingers, excluding the small finger, said Štefan Guzanin, the head of the clinic.
The woman's second toe on her right foot was removed and attached to the residual stump of the left hand thumb during the surgery which lasted 14 hours and was performed under a microscope. Guzanin said that the procedure was particularly difficult because bones and nerves had to be joined, as well as tendons, arteries, and 1-mm in diameter capillaries which are crucial to maintaining hand function and revitalising nerve sensitivity.
The patient's health condition is good and she has been recovering. Although the remaining fingers could not be re-attached, once fully recovered, the surgery will enable her to hold objects and resume her occupation as a hair-dresser.
The finger replacement at the Košice Clinic is not the first. Last year, doctors there re-attached the amputated thumb of an 18-year-old girl.
15. Feb 1999 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA