In what's being considered a successful operation, doctors amputated a woman's big toe to replace her left thumb. Long Island woman Shannon Elliott lost three fingers in November after picking up an M80 firework that had been thrown at her leg, which then exploded in her hand. Doctors at Stony Brook University suggested replacing her thumb with her big toe, saying she would gain use of her hand will little change to her ability to walk or run. She told reporters the decision was a "no brainer."
The surgery was developed by Dr. Jason Ganz, who took six months to plan it out. But he says it should work just like a normal thumb. "When she touches something it will be her thumb from the second she regains sensation there, her brain will interpret that as her thumb, the only difference is it's a little larger than a thumb." He says the size difference should go away after a few years, due to atrophy.
The 11-hour procedure was performed on June 7th, and Elliott should have full use of her hand in six to nine months. She'll also be getting two prosthetic fingers to replace the other fingers she lost. Elliott said she was looking forward to getting back to normal. "Changing my son's diaper with seven fingers is a lot harder than you would expect."