By Mollie Mansfield
A man who sliced his hand open on a saw has had his limb saved thanks to plastic surgeons sewing his hand onto his GROIN.
Anthony Lelliott, 46, was using a chop saw to cut flooring on 30 May, when he sliced his hand in two – resulting in him needing a double-level amputation.
Whilst his hand was pouring with blood he quickly rushed to the accident and emergency unit of St George’s Hospital and was quickly rushed to the Major Trauma Centre to receive urgent care.
Anthony, from Walton-on-Thames, then received an initial 13 hour operation from plastic surgeon Roger Adlard, who firstly took veins from the patients foot stitch to the arteries in his hand.
The following operation showed the surgeons sacrificing Anthony’s middle finger to save the rest of his hand and in the third operation he attached his hand to his groin to borrow skin from there.
Now, almost three months on from the accident, Anthony is working on regaining the full use of his hand and is recovering well.
Anthony said: “I threw myself off the saw – I don’t know whether it was my brain playing tricks on me, but it was like an out of body experience; I could see myself and see what I’d done.
“There was blood spirting out everywhere.
“All I remember was coming through the doors into A&E and being greeted by a phenomenal amount of people; I couldn’t count them.”
Roger said: “When we took him to theatre I realised it was much worse than I’d first thought.
It had been described as a sub-total hand amputation, which was true, however it had it been cut off almost completely in two places – at the base of his palm and again just below the fingers – resulting in a double-level amputation.
“I knew then that it was going to be a very long operation and if I proceeded on my own then the chance of saving all five fingers was slim.
“Time was also against us; his detached fingers were getting warm and left too long without blood they would rapidly decompose and be impossible to re-attach.
“I’ve done maybe three or four hand amputations in my lifetime – most units will see one or two every year.
“I’d say it’s probably the most complex amputation I’ve had to deal with
“There are many surgeons who, once they’d seen that level of injury, would think it was unsalvageable.”
Explaining the operation, Roger continued: “In that first operation I wanted to re-attach and get blood and nerve supply to as many of the fingers as possible. After fixing the broken bones we harvested nerve and vein grafts.
“This involved taking veins from his foot and nerves from his forearm and using them to bridge the gaps between the structures in his hand.
“Following the operation, we noticed some of the skin on his palm wasn’t surviving and what’s more, his middle finger had insufficient bone stability or feeling to it, so we made the decision that to save the rest of his hand, we’d sacrifice his middle finger and effectively fillet it to help reconstruct the skin and bone which was missing from his palm.
“The next problem was there wasn’t enough skin to cover the exposed delicate microvascular repairs in his palm, so we decided to attach his hand to his groin to borrow skin from there – this procedure is called a pedicled groin flap.
“It was sewn in place and left there for two weeks. Eventually the skin from his groin grew new roots to where it had been transferred to his hand and we were able to cut his hand free.”
Despite already regaining some movement in his hand, Anthony is continuing to receive hand therapy at the hospital in hope that his limb will fully recover.
Millie Chu, hand therapist said: “When I first met Anthony his hand was incredibly sensitive to light touch which would cause severe pain.
“After just one month he is now able to tolerate his scar massage and exercises much more.
“We will continue to work on his function, particularly focusing on achieving pinch grip through various exercises and splinting.
“Rehabilitation can be challenging but Anthony has shown great courage and motivation by already demonstrating great improvements.”