CLEVER surgeons have saved a Brazilian man’s hand from being amputated by sewing it into HIS BELLY, according to The Sun. Doctors decided to stitch Carlos Mariotti’s left hand inside his abdomen and cover it with a flap of protective skin after the machine production operator suffered a horrific work accident that ripped off all the skin on his hand.
The 42-year-old who lives in Orleans in the south of Brazil, must now keep his damaged mitt tucked deep in the soft tissue pouch for six weeks. Doctor Boris Brandao, who performed the rare operation, said: “Mr Marriotti suffered an injury which left him with very little skin on the palm and back of his hand, exposing the bones and tendons inside.
“This was a very large and delicate injury and the only place we could fit the whole hand was in the abdomen. “Without this procedure there would be a high risk of infection and the tissue and tendons would rot away.” Mr Mariotti, who remains in the Santa Otília Hospital, believes he is a very lucky man. “I still get very emotional when I think about the accident. But it was only when doctors told me I could lose my hand that I realised the gravity of the situation.
“When I woke up from the operation I didn’t know whether it was still there. I couldn’t believe it when they said they had tucked my hand inside me.” Heavy bandages around the mid-size man’s midriff keeps his arm firmly in place. But doctors have warned that he must move his mangled hand ‘gently around to avoid the hand becoming stiff’.
Cringing slightly, he said: “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.” The right-handed factory worker lost two fingers – his index and middle fingers – in the accident but said: “I am just so grateful because at least I will still be able to hold a fork, grip a steering wheel and dress myself without any help.”
Mr Mariotti was operating a machine that manufactures coils at the Zettapack Plastic factory, close to where he lives, when his hand was dragged into the heavy duty equipment. He was alone on the factory floor at the time and said he felt ‘indescribable pain’ as the machine chewed up his limb.
The experienced factory worker, who recently re-joined the company after leaving in 2001, said: “It was like watching a movie play out in front of me. I saw the machine pulling my hand in and couldn’t do anything about it.” When colleagues failed to respond to his screams, the desperate worker took drastic action, wrenching his hand out of the machine himself.
Workmates came running seconds later and tried to save the bloodied and tattered appendage by wrapping it tightly in bandages. Weekly check-ups will now monitor the progress of the treatment and whether the hand is on the mend. However, Doctor Brandao warned: “Mr Mariotti will suffer impaired function as he will not get all the movement back in his hand.
“But he will have a working hand and will be able to do the pincer movement. At least this is a better quality of life compared to having an amputated hand,” he said. Celebrating the fact he can wiggle his fingers around inside his body, Mr Mariotti laughed: “Now I just have to remember to keep my hand in ‘my pocket’.
“Doctors have already drummed it in to me that pulling it out would be catastrophic and I’m making sure I don’t do that,” he added. This is not the first time doctors have implanted or attached body parts in the oddest places. American medics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, USA, successfully grew Sherrie Walter’s ear on her arm after she developed bassal cell carcinoma in 2008.
In 2009, former Idaho beauty queen, Jamie Hilton had part of her skull sewn into her abdomen to keep it sterile and nourished while brain swelling from a head injury subsided. And in 2010 Chinese surgeons planted nine-year-old Ming Li’s severed hand onto her right leg as it was too badly damaged to put back on her arm after it was run over in a tractor accident.
Three months later the child’s hand was successfully reattached.