To save hand, doctors attach to ankle

CHANGSHA, CHINA - December 18, 2013

When a young man's hand was accidentally cut off, and his arm hurt in an accident in his family's workshop last month, doctors at a hospital in Changsha, China, doctors knew if they re-attached it right away, the chances of success were slim.

But they wanted to save Xei Wei's hand, so they temporarily attached it to the man's ankle.

That allowed the rest of his arm to heal, but kept the hand alive.

Xei said his hand was arm, but numb, since only blood vessels and no nerves were connected.

After about a month, he had another surgery in which his hand was re-attached in its proper place.

Doctors told him as full recovery for the nerves in his hand should take about 6 months.

The lead doctor thinks about 20 such operations have taken place in China, all successful.

The same surgeon grafted a hand onto a patient's belly in 2004.
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