She suffered severe burns in her arm

The surgeons at the General Hospital (GH) successfully reconstructed the badly burnt forearm of a 46-year-old woman rubber tapper, restoring its vascularity and functionality.

The woman’s right forearm had been burnt to the bone after she accidentally came into contact with an overhead 11 KV electrical line in November last.

She had been treated in a private hospital in the city and had undergone a few minor surgeries.

She was brought to the GH, as the family could not afford the expenses of the extensive reconstructive surgery her arm required.

“Necrosis had set in and the bones up to her wrist and the base of fingers had been exposed when she was brought here on Jan. 8. She needed more than a skin graft, as the bones were exposed. We took the gracilis muscle and blood vessels from her left thigh and joined it (anastamosis) to the blood vessels on the forearm. A skin graft was done over that,” explained S. Sreelal, general surgeon at the GH.

Eight hours

The surgery, performed on Jan. 21, took over eight hours.

The woman had lost a lot of tendons and nerves on the forearm and hence fine movements might not be possible.

Fit enough

But with physiotherapy the functionality could be improved, he said.

The woman is fit enough to be discharged.

Reconstructive surgery facilities that are available in the public health institutions are limited and the GH here is the only facility under the State Health Services performing microvascular procedures.

“Our microvascular surgical division is just over an year old and we have only performed about 15 surgeries. We are functioning with bare minimum facilities but we hope that the government will provide more facilities so that we can offer such procedures at affordable cost to people,” Dr. Sreelal said.