Doctors at a hospital in central China save a man's severed hand by grafting it onto his ankle.
CHANGSHA, HUNAN PROVINCE, CHINA (DECEMBER 4, 2013) (XIANGYA HOSPITALHANDOUT) - Doctors at a central Chinese hospital saved a man's severed hand by grafting it onto his ankle, reports said on Tuesday (December 17).
According to a statement by the hospital, he could not have the hand reattached to his arm right away, as the tissue of the hand would have died within around ten hours. It takes several hours to reattach a hand.
Transplanting it onto blood vessels on Xie's own body was the best way to save it, and also prevented further blood loss from the injured arm, the statement said.
Thirty-five days later, on December 4, the hand was transplanted back form the ankle to Xie's arm, photographs provided by the hospital showed.
"I just thought it was miraculous. I would never have thought that my hand could be saved," Xie told Reuters in a brief telephone interview from the hospital on Tuesday.
Xie said it still felt numb, and would take months for the hand to be able to show any signs of functioning.
The hospital said a great deal of rehabilitation and strength building exercises were needed for it to function better than a prosthetic hand.