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Noida docs use toe to make thumb for Afghan terror attack victim

In the first week of August, a team of doctors from the plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery department of Jaypee Hospital performed a successful transplant of the toe to reconstruct the thumb.

noida Updated: Aug 29, 2017 23:28 IST
Vaibhav Jha
Vaibhav Jha
Hindustan Times
Jaypee Hospital Noida,plastic,aesthetic and reconstructive surgery
Twenty-two-year-old Afghan national Irfaan (centre) with the doctors at Jaypee Hospital in Sector 128.(HT Photo)

A Kabul-based student, who was the victim of a terror attack in his country two years ago, received a helping hand from a Noida hospital, which undertook a transplant surgery to reconstruct his right thumb using his toe.

Irfaan-ul-lah (22) was one of the victims of a bomb blast two years ago in Kabul. He ended up losing his thumb and three fingers on the right hand. Life became difficult for Irfaan post the terror attack as he failed to perform his day-to-day activities as he had only an index finger on his right hand.

Irfaan was taken to hospitals in neighbouring Pakistan but he found no relief there.

He then arrived in Noida on July 31 for a surgery at Jaypee Hospital, Sector 128, with the hope that he might regain use of his right hand.

The doctors did not disappoint him as they used the second toe of his left foot and transplanted it on his right hand as a thumb structure, thereby providing a makeshift thumb for him to lead a normal life.

In the first week of August, a team of doctors from the plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery department of Jaypee Hospital performed a successful transplant of the toe to reconstruct the thumb.

The complicated and exhaustive surgery took seven hours, doctors said.

“First, the patient’s hand was assessed to find out the extent of loss to structures such as bones, joints, tendons, arteries and veins. Then, the team of doctors decided to implant the second toe of his left foot to his right hand and give it the structure of a thumb. We measured the length of the patient’s thumb and, according to its size and the damage incurred, we cut the second toe of his left foot and implanted it in the place of his lost thumb,” said Dr Ashish Rai, senior consultant, Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, Jaypee Hospital.

“We had to be really careful while removing the toe and had to ensure that all other structures such as joints, ligaments and the arteries were functional even after the surgery,” he said.

Doctors believe that Irfaan will now be able to regain use of his right hand.

“After the surgery, Irfaan is now capable of holding objects with his right hand and performing routine activities. In the next stage, one more finger will be implanted in the same hand so that the patient is able to perform all tasks with his three fingers and lead a normal life,” said Dr Saurabh Gupta, consultant, plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, Jaypee Hospital.

After surgery, Irfaan was kept under observation at the hospital till the second week of August and he left for Kabul on August 27.

An ecstatic Irfaan was happy at the prospect of him being able to use his right hand again.

“The last two years were terrible for me. I used to feel helpless as I was not able to do any work on my own. I am thankful to the doctors for their efforts and now I can at least perform my regular activities and am no longer dependent on others all the time,” Irfaan said.

A similar surgery was conducted in Navi Mumbai on August 25 when a team of doctors successfully replaced a factory worker’s thumb with his toe.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 23:28 IST