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Russian surgeons sew back man's hand severed by a chain saw accident

By Anna Liesowska
20 June 2013

The successful operations shows value of great first aid after a mishap plus the skill of medics.

'When the operation was completed, we turned on the blood stream and immediately realised there were good chances that the limb will take hold'. Surgeon Sergei Durakitov pictured at the operation theatre, picture curtesy: Amur Regional Children's Hospital  

The unnamed victim's hand was severed at a saw mill in Tygda in the Russian Far East. It would be 15 hours before the hand was rejoined to the young man's arm - much longer than normal for such operations - but the case showed how following important medical advice meant the man, and his severed hand, were able to be successfully reconnected. 

Quick thinking workmates summoned medical help immediately after the shocking accident on 6 June.

Rushed to the local hospital, a tight bandage was wrapped on his bleeding forearm and he was given anti-shock therapy. 

Then came the hard bit. He needed to be moved ten hours to the hospital most able to carry out the operation to carry out the complex operation, reported newspaper Amurskaya Pravda. The man was taken on a ten hour-plus road journey to Blagoveschensk in Amur region.

The hand was preserved in an ice box in readiness for surgery which began at the Children's Hospital next day. It lasted seven hours and was conducted by two teams of dedicated micro-surgeons. The hand was without blood for some 15 hours yet the surgeons dared to carry out the operation.

Sergei Dudarikov, director of microsurgery centre in the Children's Hospital, explained: 'The hand was properly cooled and transported. The patient got the right help at the place of accident.

'But we faced for the first time with such a long period of ischemia' - meaning an inadequate blood supply to part of the body. We had carried out previous operations after a maximum of one and a half to two hours after the incident. During the operation, surgeons sew two arteries and veins in the arm.'

Amur Regional Children's Hospital

Doctors hope that sensitivity returns to his fingers and that the patient will be able to grip objects and hold them. Picture: Amur Regional Children's Hospital  

He commented: 'When the operation was completed, we turned on the blood stream and immediately realised there were good chances that the limb will take hold. 

'In such operations there are a number of critical periods in the course of implantation. The most important is the first day when there is a risk of clot formation. On the third-to-fifth day is another risky period, then on the seventh-eighth day, there is a risk of germs and infection. 

'Now, after more than nine days after the operation, we can say that the hand will get accustomed to the arm again.'

On the fourth day the young man was transferred from intensive care to the microsurgery department. Now he is walking unaided around the hospital. In a month, he will have a second operation to suture the tendons. 

Doctors hope that sensitivity returns to his fingers and that the patient will be able to grip objects and hold them.

Dudarikov said: 'Our first patient with such an injury on whom we operated was nine years ago. He is now able to write with this hand. He often comes to us and every year congratulates us on Medical Worker's Day'.

Comments (1)

it does fill me with optimism to see how better doctors are getting, even in Siberia where I will probably never be
Mariusz, Poland
21/06/2013 18:54
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