ABC7News.com in San Francisco reports in on a follow up on a story in which a patient underwent a toe-to-thumb transplant, a complex microsurgery, to restore function in his hand. The team peforming the surgery included Scott L. Hansen, M.D. (pictured right), Chief of Hand and Microvascular Surgery at UCSF and Charles Lee, M.D, St. Mary's Microsurgery Director:
A follow up on a story we first brought you a year ago. Garret Lafever lost his thumb in a woodworking accident. It was a devastating loss since the thumb is responsible for 40 percent of function of the hand. But a team of doctors at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco offered him an unusual solution -- transplant his big toe in its place -- and it worked.
In a six-hour surgery at Saint Mary's Pros Center, Dr. Charles Lee, director of microsurgery, and plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Hansen of UCSF, worked in tandem to remove Garret's toe and reattach it where his thumb once was. It was an intricate operation disconnecting then reattaching blood vessels, nerves tendons and bone.
An X-ray shows just how well Garrett's toe transplant has healed. The base of his thumb is where the toe begins. Doctors then put a pin in place to hold it all together and it looks like it has healed beautifully.
ABC7 first met Garret last year, less than two months after the surgery and his new thumb has come a long way since then. He can now easily sign his name and button his clothes, but the flexibility of the digit is still not quite what doctors think it could be.