Surgeons have helped save a Brazilian man’s hand from being amputated by putting it inside a ‘pocket’ in his stomach.
Carlos Mariotti, 42, who’s a machine production operator suffered a horrific work accident that peeled off all the skin on his hand.
Mr Mariotti was operating a machine that manufactures coils at a plastic factory, when his hand was dragged into the heavy duty equipment. He said it was like watching a movie play out in front of him when he saw the machine pulling his hand in and he couldn’t do anything stop it from happening. He said he started screaming but when his colleagues did not immediately respond to his screams, he wrenched his hand out of the machine himself.
Shortly after he pulled his hand out,he colleagues came running and tried to save the hand by wrapping it tightly in bandages.
Fortunately, Doctors were able to save his hand by putting it inside his abdomen and covered it with a flap of protective skin.
Orthopaedic and traumatology doctor, Boris Brandao, who performed the rare surgery said:
“Mr Marriotti suffered a de-gloving injury which left him with very little skin on the palm and back of his hand, exposing the bones and tendons inside.
“This was a very large and delicate injury and the only place we could fit the whole hand was in the abdomen. Without this procedure, there would be a high risk of infection and the tissue and tendons would rot away,” Dr Brandao said.
Mr Mariotti who is still recovering in the hospital said:
“I still get very emotional when I think about the accident. But it was only when doctors told me I could lose my hand that I realised the gravity of the situation.
“When I woke up from the operation I didn’t know whether it was still there. I couldn’t believe it when they said they had tucked my hand inside me.”
“It’s a really weird feeling trying to wiggle my fingers inside my body and creepy seeing my tummy protrude slightly as I prod around,” Mr Mariotti said.
“I am just so grateful because at least I will still be able to hold a fork, grip a steering wheel and dress myself without any help.”
“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.”
“Mr Mariotti will suffer impaired function as he will not get all the movement back in his hand.
“But he will have a working hand and will be able to do the pincer movement. At least this is a better quality of life compared to having an amputated hand,” he said.