Unbelievable hand reconstruction

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Hand injuries account for close to ten percent of emergency department visits nationwide and immediate treatment could mean the difference between a healthy hand or amputation.

Danny Miglicco faced this scare after a terrible accident and now has an unbelievable story to tell about how his hand was saved.

It's been two months since an accident at his home's shop sent Miglicco to the emergency room.  "I was using a table saw pushing a board," said Miglicco, "basically splitting it down the middle - and the saw blade caught on the board such that it tilted it up and kind of threw my hand under the blade backwards."

In that moment, the saw split Miglicco's thumb right down the middle.  "I was really concerned about losing the whole thumb," said Miglicco.

Miglicco's wife rushed him to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital where Dr. Lawrence Weber was called in to act quickly.

Dr. Weber said hand injuries present their own set of challenges for a surgeon.  "It's a very intricate mechanism and the hand is really something where you will notice everything you do, every minute of the day," said Dr. Weber.

After a procedure to clean Miglicco's finger and remove the damaged tissue, Dr. Weber recommended a skin grafting procedure that involved sewing the thumb to the chest.  "It allows the skin of the chest, which is well vascularized," explained Dr. Weber, "to grow into the skin around the thumb."

Miglicco said, "It sounded like that was really the best option that the skin graft would be able to survive because of the blood supply it would have there."

For three weeks, Miglicco's hand was sewn to his chest - allowing for a transplant of tissue from the skin in his chest onto his thumb.  "It was pretty tough," he said, "it was odd, but I figured if it would give me a good thumb when I was done then it would be worth it."

Looking at Miglicco's thumb today, there's still some swelling that will go down over time, but its color and the fingernail growth show that the procedure was a success.  Dr. Weber said, "I think the outcome is fantastic."

Now with feeling and movement coming back to his finger, Miglicco's ready to get back to his active life with his wife and teenage kids.  "We like to work out in the yard, throw the football," he said, "so I told myself I would suffer through this time period to make it heal right and get back to those things when I can."

*Dr. Weber is a fellowship trained hand specialist. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Orthopaedic Specialists at 337-494-4900.

(Copyright 2010 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)