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Monday, 3 December, 2001, 18:13 GMT
Hand to hand finger transplant
Happy
Jonathan is delighted with the results
Surgeons have saved the hand of a man left horrifically injured in a train accident - by transplanting fingers from his other severed limb.

Australian Jonathan Paton lost his left arm and half his left leg in the accident six weeks ago, and his right arm was crushed.

The fingers in his remaining arm were unsalveagable, but surgeons took an unusual approach.

They took the four intact fingers from the severed left arm, and grafted them on at the knuckle of the other.

The unusual surgery seems to have succeeded - and Jonathan may have a functional hand once his recovery is complete.

Fingers reversed

This means he will be able to feed himself and perform many tasks which would have been impossible without the operation.

surgeon
Dr Gianoutsos: "A difficult operation"
The only difference is that his fingers are reversed in order.

Dr Mark Gianoutsos, of Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital, where the 14 hour operation was carried out, said this was the only way that they could get the four finger arrangement to sit on the left hand.

He said: "It has actually gone remarkably smoothly for what is a difficult injury.

"He's done extremely well - the critical thing is to have the hand therapy now and our team have been fantastic."

Splinted out

Jonathan is now using a custom-made splint to make sure the hand does not fix in a claw shape.

He is able to lift and manipulate objects already, including chocolate bars and drinks.

Jonathan said: "It's gone better than I hoped - in such a short time it's going very well."

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The BBC's Fergus Walsh
"Doctors are amazed at his progress"
See also:

27 Jun 01 | Health
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27 Feb 01 | Health
Drive for new organ donors
09 Aug 01 | Health
Robotic prostate surgery launched
02 Feb 00 | Health
Heart surgeons use robot hands
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