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Surgeons use man's TOE to replace his thumb after he sawed it off

"Halina Schwing" (2020-08-05)

A man who sawed off his own thumb while making a wooden gift for his then-girlfriend has received a 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.

It turned out it was his thumb. 

He was rushed to the hospital and doctors said they had four hours to reattach his thumb, but to this day his family still can't find it. 

His surgeons were forced to sew up Adkins' hand regardless, leaving his without a left thumb. But they told him that, if he wanted, they could use one of his toes instead.

Aiden Adkins went four months without a thumb after lopping it off with a saw

Surgeons removed Adkins' left index toe, and using it to reconstruct a thumb


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

Our thumbs account for about 50 percent of our hand function. 

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

It is a common procedure in plastic surgery, first performed in 1897 by an Austrian doctor, who attached a patient's hand to his foot, left it conjoined for weeks, before cutting off the big toe, leaving it attached to the hand. 

Since then, the procedure has become more sophisticated, but it still takes half a day, and about four surgeons, to produce a 'thoe'. 

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

Adkins underwent the operation on August 20 at the University of Michigan Hospital

A week later, when he got the casts off his foot and hand, Adkins was ecstatic: 'I can finally give a thumbs up again!! Doctors are loving how it looks!!'

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

'His thumb does bend and straighten pretty well,' Nye told 'That's the most motion I've ever seen out of a toe-to-thumb transfer.' 


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