Youth regains arm torn off in accident

Shahshank Singh Rathore (16),aspirant for the May 21 pre-medical tests,will have to spend the next few months at the CSMMU,recuperating from an accident in which he had almost lost him his right arm.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | Published:April 22, 2010 2:36 am

Shahshank Singh Rathore (16),aspirant for the May 21 pre-medical tests,will have to spend the next few months at the CSMMU,recuperating from an accident in which he had almost lost him his right arm.

Early on Monday,Shahshank ,a Gosaiganj resident,was working with his father in his uncle’s oil mill,when his ‘kada’ got stuck in the machine. His right arm was ripped off from near the shoulder. “There was no pain. Only when he saw the blood,he realised that his hand was gone,” said his mother Anita.

His father,a homeopathic doctor,knew he needed immediate medical attention.

Shashank was rushed to the CSMMU Trauma Center within an hour. The torn off arm was taken along,wrapped in a plastic. A team of 10 doctors,including Dr GK Singh and Dr Ajay Singh of Orthopedics Surgery and Dr AK Singh and Dr Vijay Kumar of Plastic Surgery took over the case immediately.

“It was his timely arrival that saved Shashank’s arm,” said Dr GK Singh. There is 90 per cent blood circulation in his arms now and he is recovering well. “He is in shock due to loss of blood when he came,and his blood pressure was very low. We stabilised his condition within one-and-a-half hours and then took him in for surgery,” said Dr Vijay Kumar.

The first step of the operation was fixing of the bones using external fixators by orthopaedic surgeons. Then plastic surgeons began the complicated task of joining the soft tissues.

“The surgery had to be done under magnifying loupes as the vessels are as thin as 1.5 to 2 millimeters,” said Dr Kumar. “We first joined four veins and one artery and checked the circulation. With the blood vessels fixed successfully,we joined the nerves,then the muscles and finally closed the skin. The whole process took around seven-and-a-half hours.”

This was a rare and difficult re-implantation surgery as the whole arm had been torn off,explained Dr AK Singh,head of the department of Plastic Surgery. It is easier to join the vessels where an arm has been chopped off with a sharp object. “But in cases of avulsion injury,the vessels are torn off with force and the extent to which a vessel is injured is not known,” he said. Also,the vessels are torn at different points,and though blood vessels can be touched physically and hence joined easily,the nerves are more difficult to manage.

“This is the third or fourth case of its kind that we are operating in the last ten years,” he said.

Confirming that the youth is recovering well,the doctors said it is too early to say if the hand will function normally. “We will watch his circulation for around 12 days,” said Dr Singh. “If his hand is functional,physiotherapy will be given to get the joints moving.” Nerve recovery is the slowest as nerve cells grow by one millimeter a day and at times,the growth may also be blocked. “We will wait for at least six months before intervening,if it is necessary,” said Dr Singh.

Dr Kumar added that even if Shashank manages to get full control of his hand — which will take at least nine months — he might face difficulty in doing finer works,like using a screw driver,with his fingers.

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