Plastic surgeons from St George’s Hospital in Tooting have managed to save a carpenter’s hand following 17 hours of surgery after a freak accident in which he cut his hand off in a chop saw.
The accident happened when carpenter Anthony Lelliott, from Walton-on-Thames, was chopping floorboards. He was rushed to hospital where surgeons were faced with a hand that had been almost completely severed at the base of the palm and below the fingers.
For 17 hours surgeons worked on what they described as ‘the most complex amputation they have had to deal with’.
After the bones were fixed, nerves and arteries were taken from forearm and feet skin grafts and sewn into his hand. Surgeons painstakingly attached everything together to boost restore supply and sensitivity to his fingers.
In later surgery, his hand was attached to his groin for two weeks to promote skin growth in his palm, before the hand was detached and began healing.
Now, Lelliott, who had his middle finger amputated, is learning to re-use his hand and at this stage is able to pick up a pen.
Lelliott said: “Words can’t describe it because I was expecting to wake up without a hand. It’s just trying to get it to work now. It’s unbelievable really, I’m so grateful.”
Recalling his accident, he said: “I threw myself off the saw. I don’t know whether it was my brain playing tricks on me, but it was like an out of body experience.
“I could see myself and see what I’d done. There was blood spurting out everywhere.
“All I remember was coming through the doors into A&E and being greeted by a phenomenal amount of people; I couldn’t count them.
“The care I’ve received has been fantastic and I’ve got so much gratitude for everyone.”