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Updated: June 7, 2014 11:03 IST

Rare palm transfer for U.P. contract worker

K. V. Prasad
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Plastic and reconstructive surgeon S. Raja Sabapathy (centre) with Matru Yadav, who underwent a palm transfer surgery at Ganga Hospital in Coimbatore. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan
The Hindu Plastic and reconstructive surgeon S. Raja Sabapathy (centre) with Matru Yadav, who underwent a palm transfer surgery at Ganga Hospital in Coimbatore. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

The 41-year-old man’s palms were blown off in an explosion at the Cordite Factory at Aravankadu in the Nilgiris on June 2

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons of Ganga Hospital here have done a palm transfer on Matru Yadav, a 41-year-old contract worker from Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, whose palms were blown off in an explosion at the Cordite Factory at Aravankadu in the Nilgiris on June 2. He was among eight persons injured in the blast.

S. Raja Sabapathy, head of the Department of Plastic, Micro and Reconstructive Surgery, said Mr. Yadav’s right palm was severed at the wrist and one half of the left palm was missing. It could not be retrieved. But, fellow workers had found the right palm and packed it properly and put it in an ice container and rushed it to the hospital along with the injured person. The right forearm was so severely damaged that the only option left was an amputation up to the elbow. There was no point in reattaching the palm, Dr. Sabapathy said.

Whereas, the left arm’s only problem was there was not salvageable tissue in what remained of the palm. Therefore, Dr. Sabapathy and his team decided to attach to the left forearm the right palm that had been preserved well. “This surgery is called a cross-hand transfer, a very rare procedure. It took some intense brainstorming to go ahead,” he said. “If we had not gone ahead with this surgery, Mr. Yadav might have ended up losing both hands.”

“The aim was to enable Mr. Yadav to have at least one functional arm. He will need thorough re-orientation in the use of the left hand as the fingers have changed places; significantly, the little finger and thumb, whose places have interchanged,” Dr. Rajasabapathy explained.

Mr. Yadav was in shock on arrival. He was resuscitated and made fit for the surgery that involved complex rearrangement of tendons and nerves because of the shifting of the palm to another hand. Three teams of micro-surgeons were involved in the eight-hour surgery.

“The patient is fine now,” Dr. Sabapathy said. “It will take six to nine months of physiotherapy to make his hand function well.”

The surgical team included Hari Venkatramani, Sanjai Ramkumar, Ravindra Bharathi, Manoj and Raja Shanmuga Krishnan, and the anaesthesiology team consisted of Venkateswaran, Boopathy and Arun.

When this reporter spoke to Mr. Yadav who was wondering how he would make a living with one hand, he said: “At least, I got back one hand because of the surgery. I want to be back with my family in Azamgarh.”

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