Man loses thumb, gets toe as replacement

Mumbai: Performing a rare surgery, doctors at a hospital here gave a 35-year-old man his thumb back by grafting his big toe in its place.

Rishi Kurne had lost his right thumb while working in a factory and was struggling for the last three months, as he was unable to carry out his routine activities, including eating food or gripping on various items.

According to doctors, for immediate relief, skin was grafted on the affected area, but that failed to give him much relief.

As Kurne wanted a permanent solution to his problem, he was in constant touch with the doctors of Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, where he was recommended thumb reconstruction with toe transfer.

Explaining the whole process, Vinod Vij, Cosmetic Surgeon at the hospital, said that during this process, the thumb would be replaced with a toe, making it possible for him to perform daily activities without much difficulty.

"This is a very rare process... Replacing one's thumb with toe is a micro surgical process. It takes around six hours to complete this surgery. It is very complicated and the technicalities involved complicate it further.

"Since in the process, patients have to lose their toe as well, it becomes difficult to convince them for the procedure," said Vij.

Stating that the thumb had been completely crushed, doctors said it was difficult to fix it immediately. 

"As the toe is from the same individual's body, thumb can be easily reconstructed. The patient is now managing well and trying hard to attempt to hold various objects," said the doctors.

With the hope that he would be able to resume his duties at his workplace post surgery, Kurne agreed. 

According to the doctors, a month after the surgery, Kurne is able to eat with his right hand and also hold things in hand.

"The new thumb will take time to regain strength but it is showing positive results," said Vij.

Speaking on the success of the transplant of the thumb surgery, Kurne said it was indeed a difficult phase to manage without a thumb. 

"I used to eat with my left hand and was not able to do many other activity. Post-surgery it has become easier, although I am waiting for the thumb to gain strength," Kurne added.