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Navi Mumbai doctors replace worker’s thumb with toe, help him stand on his feet again

In April, Rishi Kurne lost the thumb of his right hand when it got caught in a machine at the factory where he works

mumbai Updated: Aug 25, 2017 01:51 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Navi Mumbai,severed thumb
Kurne’s severed thumb was replaced with his toe.(HT)

Doctors in Navi Mumbai have successfully replaced a 35-year-old factory worker’s lost thumb with a toe.

In April, Rishi Kurne lost the thumb of his right hand when it got caught in a machine at the factory where he works.

After the injury, he feared that he would lose his job and his family of five was staring at a financial disaster.

But doctors came to his rescue. They told him that his thumb was crushed beyond repair and had to be amputated. The wound had to be covered with skin to prevent infection.

“Initially, when the patient approached us we used some skin from the abdomen to graft the thumb,” said Dr Vinod Vij, a Navi Mumbai-based cosmetic surgeon who treated Kurne.

While the surgery provided some immediate relief, Kurne was unable to work as he couldn’t handle machines or hold equipment without a functional thumb. “It was a difficult phase to manage without a thumb. I used to eat with my left hand and was not able to do many other activities,” he said. Kurne lives with his three-year-old son, wife and parents at Kalamboli and started panicking as he was the only breadwinner.

Eventually Dr Vij suggested a thumb reconstruction with a toe, as a reconstructive surgery. “Since the toe is part of the same anatomy, it’s possible that it can replace the thumb,” he said.

Doctors called it an ultra-rare procedure. “The surgery took about six hours as it’s complicated. In this process, you lose your toe as well. There are very few like Kurne who would agree for such a loss,” said Dr Vij.

“I agreed with the hope that I’ll resume work and support the family again,” Kurne said. But a month after the surgery, Kurne can now see the silver lining as he can eat with his right hand and hold things. “Although I am waiting for the thumb to regain strength, the surgery has made my tasks easier,” said Kurne. Doctors said that with time, he will be able to use it effectively. Dr Vij said that while dissecting the toe, they secured all veins and arteries.

First Published: Aug 25, 2017 01:51 IST