A famous Egyptian whose finger was amputated in a freak accident in Abu Dhabi says surgeons saved the use of his left hand after regluing the severed finger just hours after the incident.
Mohamed Mansour Mohamed, a 30-year-old man who works on a farm in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, was trying to close a bathroom window at a friend’s house when a pane of glass fell on his hand, causing him to severed the left index finger.
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Unable to bear the pain, Mohamed, who has been living and working in the United Arab Emirates for two and a half years, passed out at the scene. Mohamed’s friend who found him lying unconscious picked up the finger and rushed his friend to a nearby private hospital. Mohamed remembers waking up in the hospital, where he was told about the accident.
“Fortunately, my friend’s house is located near Burjeel Medical City, so I was transferred there within minutes,” he said. “When I realized the extent of my injuries, I thought I had lost that finger for good.”
He continued, “I didn’t expect to have a chance to find the finger.”
After assessing his injuries, doctors offered Mohamed a glimmer of hope by telling him they could reattach the severed finger to his hand.
According to doctors, hand injuries ranging from superficial lacerations to total amputation are common in emergency rooms.
Usually they require specialized treatment by a hand surgeon who performs reconstructive surgery and microsurgery.
In Mohamed’s case, he needed reimplantation surgery which is a rare surgery performed only by a few selected hand surgeons in UAE with expertise in microsurgery.
Six hour procedure
As the severed finger was properly preserved, a medical team performed the initial dissection of the severed finger under the operating microscope, where all structures including dorsal veins, arteries and nerves were labeled with microsutures.
Patient Mohamed Mansour Mohamed with the medical team who treated him. (Provided)
After performing a proximal finger dissection, the physician performed bone fixation using a single axial pin (a stiff, straight wire used to repair the fracture), followed by tendon repair. The doctors then repaired the arteries and veins under the microscope using microstructures.
Once good blood circulation was established, the skin was sealed with a few sutures.
In this case, as the team had to reattach the severed finger and treat deep wounds in the other three fingers, as well as harvest vein grafts for the anastomosis (connecting the blood vessels), the operation was completed in six hours.
However, according to Dr. Leon Alexander, a plastic surgery specialist at Burjeel Medical City who led the operation, a replanted body part never regains 100% of its original use.
“Most physicians consider a 60-80% utilization recovery to be a great result,” he said. “However, most replanted numbers only get about 50% of the total move.”
Mohamed is now considering a long recovery process that can take between three and six months and sometimes up to a year so that his body can relearn the mind-muscle-finger connection.
The medical team was able to reattach Mohamed’s finger because the duration of ischemia (reduced blood and oxygen supply) was short, the amputated finger was not severely crushed and the finger was well preserved.
According to Alexander, the preservation of the amputated part is the most crucial step in such cases.
“The amputated part should be wrapped in damp gauze soaked in saline solution and transferred to a plastic bag,” he said. “The plastic bag should be wrapped and enclosed in another plastic bag filled with saline/water, then stored in a cooler or bag with ice cubes. The amputated part must not come into direct contact with the ice as this will damage the digital vessels and the nerves.
Prevent Crush Injuries
According to doctors, most amputation injuries are preventable and occur due to lack of attention or lack of protective equipment.
Doors and power tools are responsible for most finger amputations.
They say such incidents can be avoided if residents install door guards to prevent fingers from getting caught in doors, while workers using power tools and heavy machinery must follow all safety guidelines and precautions and wear appropriate protective equipment such as hand protection (gloves), work clothes, heavy work boots and hard hats with goggles.
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