Surgeons were able to save a factory worker’s badly mangled hand by cutting open his stomach and sewing the appendage inside.
Forty-two-year-old Carlos Mariotti had most of the skin ripped off his left hand in a workplace accident.
Doctors initially thought they would have to amputate, but instead decided to insert the damaged hand into Mariotti’s belly, where they covered it with a flap of protective skin and stitched it shut.
Dr. Boris Brandao, who performed the operation in southern Brazil, said Mariotti suffered “a de-gloving injury with left him with very little skin on the palm and back of his hand, exposing the bones and tendons inside,” Britain’s Independent reported Monday.
Mariotti’s skin will grow back with little chance of infection while the hand is inside his stomach, the surgeon said. Otherwise, the man’s tendons and tissue would have rotted away.
Mariotti remains hospitalized, with heavy bandages keeping his arm firmly against his lower chest. But doctors told him he must exercise his hand to prevent muscle atrophy.
“It’s a really weird feeling trying to wiggle my fingers inside my body, and creepy seeing my tummy protrude slightly as I prod around,” he said.
He lost his index and middle finger in the accident, but is happy to still have his hand.
“I am just so grateful,” he said, “because at least I will still be able to hold a fork, grip a steering wheel and dress myself without any help.”
His hand was sucked into a piece of heavy equipment at the coil-making plant where he works.
It will take about 42 days for his hand to be healed enough to be removed from his abdomen. He will have limited mobility, Brandao said, but will be able to make pincer-like movements.