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Surgeons Use Man's TOE To Replace His Thumb After He Accidentally Saws It Off

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Surgeons Use Man's TOE To Replace His Thumb After He Accidentally Saws It Off

A US man who accidentally sawed his thumb off in an unfortunate woodwork accident has received an unlikely replacement - one of his toes.

Aiden Adkins, of Carson City in Michigan, was chopping in his garage in April when he saw a piece of wood chip off and fly across the room.

Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be his thumb.

 Credit: Facebook
Credit: Facebook

Mr Adkins was rushed to the hospital, where doctors said that they had just four hours to reattach his thumb. But even after all this time, his family claim that they still haven't been able to find the missing thumb.

His surgeons were forced to sew up his gaping wound regardless, leaving him without the appendage. They then offered Adkins an ultimatum - live without a thumb, or have one of his toes sewn on instead.

 Credit: WKRN
Credit: WKRN

After months of deliberation, Adkins, who loves target practice and wants to work in taxidermy, decided he'd rather have a thumb and be missing one toe.


The thumb is the most important part of the hand, accounting for about 50 percent of our hand functions.

In many ways, they are among the defining features of humans.

The thumb/toe switcheroo has long been a standard practice in plastic surgery, first performed in 1897 by an Austrian doctor, who attached a patient's hand to his foot and left it conjoined for weeks, before cutting off the big toe, leaving it attached to the hand.

 Credit: Facebook/WKRN
Credit: Facebook/WKRN

Since then the procedure has become much more sophisticated, although it still takes a team of four surgeons about half a day to produce a viable 'thoe'.

Adkins underwent the operation on 20 August at the University of Michigan Hospital, removing his left index toe, and using it to reconstruct a thumb.

He got the casts removed from his foot and hand around a week later, and was ecstatic with the result. He later posted to social media: "I can finally give a thumbs up again!! Doctors are loving how it looks!!"

Occupational therapist Kelly Nye, at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital's Hand Therapy Program, said Adkins' is a success story compared to others.


Nye told WKRN: "His thumb does bend and straighten pretty well.

"That's the most motion I've ever seen out of a toe-to-thumb transfer."

Featured Image Credit: WKRN

Topics: Interesting, US News, Health

Tom Sanders
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