• Monday, November 28, 2022


Leicester surgeon uses wartime technique to save man’s injured hand

Representational Image: iStock

By: Shubham Ghosh

SURGEONS used a war-time skin-grafting technique to save the hand of a car crash victim by attaching it to his abdomen for several weeks.

Martin Shaw from Leicester suffered severe injuries to his right hand and forearm in a horrible accident on September 9.

To save his badly injured hand, the doctors used the unique technique known as a pedicled flap, which involved attaching it to the abdomen to help the skin tissue recover, BBC reported in October end.

Recalling the accident and the impact on his hand, Shaw told BBC, “What happened after the car stopped is a bit of a blur but I remember seeing my arm and thinking ‘that’s it, I’ve lost it’.”

“I couldn’t really take it in as what they planned to do was explained to me, but I was willing to try anything to save my hand and arm,” the 35-year-old said.

Renowned plastic surgeon Nakul Patel of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, who treated Shaw, told BBC that he had opened a skin across the victim’s abdomen and attached it to his thumb and hand to enable healthy skin to cover his injuries and fractures.

“This is a technique that has been around for a long, long time and was certainly popularised in the World Wars,” he said.

“We don’t have to do it very often in this modern day but there are exceptional circumstances such as this one and we wanted to do everything possible to save his hand,” he added.

In a press release issued from University Hospitals of Leicester, Patel was quoted as saying, “Mr Shaw sustained multiple fractures all his fingers and thumb and a large amount of his skin, tendons and muscle had all been torn away.

“The first thing to do was clean the wounds, there was mud, gravel, grass and road surface in all his wounds and that posed a high risk of infection.”

He told Shaw that to save his hand, they needed to cover his injuries with health tissue.

Shaw, a father of four, said while he couldn’t really understand what the doctors had planned to do, but he was willing to give it a go to save his hand and arm. His hand was stitched to his chest for around two weeks.

Shaw said it gave him a strange feeling but thanked Patel and other staff members for saving his hand.

“I can’t thank Mr Patel and all of the staff here enough. Nothing has been too much trouble for anyone, the care I’ve had – I’ve been blown away.

“There aren’t enough words,” he said, adding that his kids couldn’t when they saw his hand and said it looked something from the Halloween aisle. He also said that they have nicknamed him “Frankenstein”, the BBC report added.

Patel said people think that plastic surgery is purely cosmetic but Shaw’s case showed otherwise.

Eastern Eye

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