An Australian livestock worker who lost his thumb in an altercation with a bull has had it surgically replaced by his big toe.
“A bull kicked my hand into the fence,” Zac Mitchell, 20, told the BBC.
Surgeons twice tried to reattach his thumb to his hand before opting to repurpose the big toe from his right foot.
The successful surgery took eight hours.
Mitchell said other farm workers tried to preserve his thumb after he lost it, by putting it on ice.
He was flown to a hospital in Perth where doctors’ efforts to reattach the appendage to his hand failed.
Mitchell hesitated before allowing doctors at the Sydney Eye Hospital to remove his big toe from his foot.
“It’s a bit of a crazy idea – they (patients) do not want to be injured in another part of their body,” Sean Nicklin, lead plastic surgeon at the Sydney Eye hospital said, told the BBC.
“(However) even if you have got four good fingers, if you do not have something to pinch against them, your hand has lost a huge amount of its function.”
Recovery from the surgery will last more than 12 months, after which Mitchell says he plans to return to farm work and rodeoing.
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