Replantation surgery is performed when a body part (arm, finger, hand or toe) has been completely severed from the body and requires reattachment.
The procedure aims to restore as much use of the injured area as possible. During replantation surgery, Mr Kode first removes any damaged tissue and rejoins bone ends, arteries, veins, nerves, muscles and tendons. Sometimes, exposed nerves, tendons and joints may require a free-tissue transfer, where donor tissue is transplanted from another part of the patient’s body, along with the skin, arteries and veins. The replanted area is then braced to protect the newly repaired tendons, while still allowing movement during the healing process.
Recovery of function in the replanted body part depends on regeneration of the sensory nerves, which signal pain, pressure and temperature, and the motor nerves, which signal a muscle to make the body move. While the replanted body part never regains 100% of its original function, 60% to 80% is considered an excellent outcome.
Ongoing physical therapy helps prevent the joints from becoming stiff, keeps muscles moving, and to minimises the formation of scar tissue. When a severed body part is too damaged, replantation is not possible and in this case, the patient might consider wearing a prosthesis.