Doctors say bizarre operation will save man’s hand

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HOUSTON – Doctors say a bizarre operation will save a Texas man’s hand.

A couple of months ago Frank Reyes burned his hand so badly, he needed more than a skin graft, he needed new blood supply to the hand, which doctors got by using his abdomen.

At 87 years old, there’s not much that can slow down the Texas cattleman.

He was changing a tire when a lowboy trailer fell on his hand.

Nothing was broken but the trailer pressed on his hand like an iron, giving him third-degree burns.

“The hot metal was so hot, it was two o’clock in the afternoon and it stayed there for 20 or 30 minutes in the hot sun,” Reyes told KPRC.

In order to grow a new blood supply to the hand, sewing it under a flap on Reyes’ abdomen was the best option.

A doctor told KPRC that although the procedure is not unheard of, it is rare.

“Those two raw surface areas actually stick and over the course of about three weeks the blood vessels actually connect, allowing us to divide the remaining skin on his abdomen and transferring onto his hand,” Dr. Anthony Echo, a plastic surgeon from Houston Methodist Hospital in The Medical Center, told KPRC.

Now, a “new” hand is taking shape under the bandage.

“So far I can move it, my new hand, my thumb and the little one,” Reyes said. “Next Tuesday they’re going to take [the splint] off and we’ll know from there what they can do for me.”

Although it will take months of therapy to get the use of his hand back, Reyes says he is looking forward to getting the use of his hand back.

 

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