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A man’s hand was sewn into his belly to save it from amputation

In order to keep his wounded hand alive before performing another operation, a man’s hand was sewn inside his abdomen for 42 days.

Carlos Mariotti, a machine operator in São Ludgero, Brazil, injured his left hand when a horrific accident happened that ripped off all the skin on his hand. According to Huffington Post, his hand was “…trapped in a machine used to make plastic tableware.” He lost two fingers, and the tendons and bones on his hand were exposed.

via Barcroft TV
via Barcroft TV

Amputation was an option but Dr. Boris Brandao, an orthopedic and traumatology doctor, thought about inserting his wounded hand into his abdomen to avoid high risk of infection and protect it until it is ready for a skin graft operation.

via Barcroft TV
via Barcroft TV

“In order to keep the wounded hand alive, we opened the abdomen, took off the skin and put it inside the cavity to protect it. The patient’s hand must stay in the pocket for about 42 days to ensure it develops new tissue and tendon material which is capable of receiving a replanted skin graft,” Dr. Brandao said.

via Barcroft TV
via Barcroft TV

Mariotti said it felt weird to try and wiggle his fingers inside his body and it was “…creepy seeing [his] tummy protrude slightly as [he] prod around.” After 42 days, Mariotti underwent another operation where the surgeon grafted skin from his left thigh—making his hand look like a “fleshy boxing glove.”

This wasn’t the first time surgeons have tried attaching severed body parts to different parts of their patients to save them from amputation. Last 2015, a doctor in China grafted his patient’s severed hand into his leg before reattaching it to his arm.

This was also even done in the fictional medical series Grey’s Anatomy (Season 6, Episode 14) where several surgeons decided to attach a man’s severed arm into his abdomen to allow blood flow and prevent it from rotting before they could reattach it on his arm stump.

While he may not have his hand’s full functions back, today Mariotti is recovering and hoping that an operation to separate his fingers would be possible in the future.

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