NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Thumbs up for man's toe swap operation

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Media captionDonald Gunn's right thumb was replaced with a toe

A man has praised surgeons after his missing thumb was replaced with one of his toes.

Fisherman Donald Gunn lost his right thumb while at sea when his hand got caught in rope.

Surgeons at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary used the second toe from the Caithness man's left foot.

He said: "The difference it has made to me already is unbelievable. I am delighted with the result and cannot thank the team enough."

Image caption Mr Gunn said it was hard to explain the impact the loss had on him

Consultant plastic surgeon Amir Tadros had believed the toe transplant was a viable option.

Mr Tadros said: "This is a very complex procedure but the difference it could make to Mr Gunn's life convinced me it was worth trying.

"By using the second toe from his left foot we ensured that the patient's balance wasn't affected and the cosmetic appearance was almost the same as a normal foot.

"The 12-hour operation was an endurance test for both the surgical team and Mr Gunn but the recovery we are seeing already has made it all worth it."

'Rare operation'

He explained: "It's a rare operation, it's been around since the 60s, but is not very often done.

"Mr Gunn seemed to fit the criteria. It seems to be successful at the moment."

Mr Gunn added: "It's hard to explain the impact of losing my thumb had on my life.

"It might only be a small part of the body but it's only when you lose it that you realise how important it is.

"I was unable to work, my right hand became essentially useless and I felt really, really low."

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