Carlos Mariotti from Brazil who worked as a machine operator was involved in a workplace accident that had his skin peeled away from his hand. His left was seriously injured and large sections of bone and tendons were visible.
Dr Boris Bandao who was on the case decided to perform a first of its kind surgery instead of amputating the hand. He sew the hand into the soft tissue around his stomach, yes, you got it right, stomach. It was left in the same way for 42 days.
Carlos was obviously frustrated with his situation and exploded with anger.
It was a really weird sensation because I could feel my fingers wiggling inside my body. When I moved them around my tummy protruded as I prodded about.
I was told by doctors to make sure I kept my hand pushed inwards and to keep my fingers moving so they didn’t seize up.
Every day I reminded myself that I couldn’t take my hand out because it was in a pocket. I was terrified I’d break the stitches and damage my chances of recovery
After subsequent surgeries and skin grafts, Carlos now has a hand similar to a boxing glove and can perform basic stuff. However, he still has to undergo a few more procedures before it is completely done.
The science behind the procedure is pretty amazing – the idea was to create a little sterile pouch where the hand could connect to a blood supply.
Dr Brandao said:
I had never done this procedure before but I knew what was possible. We separated the skin from the abdominal muscles and created a bag inside and put the patient’s hand inside.
Then we sutured and sewed it into the abdomen so blood vessels could connect and flow through and turn the abdomen’s skin into the back of the hand while the muscle beneath would become part of the hand.
Fortunately, Carlos is right handed. He is now struggling to make ends meet as his employer did not support for his treatment and he is still unable to work. Dr Brandao performed the operation out of kindness and we should take our hats off to him for doing that.
To help Carlos Mariotti get his life back on track, a crowd funding campaign is being carried out.