Dr. Neil Jones Discusses Toe-to-Hand Surgery - UC Irvine

By: UC Irvine News

There are certain children that are born without, let's say, a thumb or without fingers. Their entire life is compromised because they can't use their hand or hands. So you can use that same technique by transferring a toe or several toes from the foot, to reconstruct a thumb or to reconstruct multiple fingers. That is a very, very difficult, technical challenge. It all has to be done with a microscope because you have to join together one artery and one vein that supply blood supply to the toe. You also have to join together the bones in the toe to the hand; and you have to join together the nerves in the toe to the hand, so that eventually the brain will feel in the toe transfer, where it is being positioned on the hand.

They will have sensation. They will have some movement. They will allow either the child or an adult to be able to pinch again or grasp again. Many times, certainly in adults, you can get excellent reconstruction of the function of the hand after a toe-to-hand transfer. I have children who can play the piano after toe transfers; who can run long distances. We have one child in North Carolina who is a gymnastics champion with a toe transfer, so it can revolutionize their hand function in their life.

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