Yangon surgeons perform first leg reattachment

The patient recovers after his leg reattachment surgery. Photo: Yangon General Hospital
The patient recovers after his leg reattachment surgery. Photo: Yangon General Hospital

A team of surgeons at Yangon General Hospital performed the hospital’s first leg reattachment surgery last week for a man whose right leg was severed by a lawnmower.

The 40-year-old patient from Twante Township, south of Yangon proper, suffered the accident on July 19, and the surgery began a few hours later.

Doctors say the quick response time was key to the surgery’s success. Dr. Thaw Zin Htoo, an assistant lecturer in the hand and reconstructive microsurgery department, told the Myanmar Times that a patient like the one in this case must reach the hospital within three hours of the accident in order to allow a successful reattachment. Fingers, by comparison, can be reattached up to 36 hours after they are severed.

Department head Dr. Khin Maung Myint said reattaching arms and legs is more difficult than fingers “because of the muscles.” He said a severed limb must be wrapped in a clean, dry cloth and placed in an icebox in order to improve the likelihood of a successful replanting.

“The patient is in good health and will be discharged soon,” Dr. Khin Maung Myint said. “He needs to practice walking and must keep the leg clean.”

“We have done arm and finger reattachment surgeries many times, but this is the first time we reattached a leg,” he added.

Dr. Thaw Zin Htoo said the man’s surgery and post-surgery treatment are being provided by the hospital free of charge. He also estimated that the patient would be sent home by the end of the month.

“After two months, he may walk like a normal person, but he has to practice,” he said

Yangon General Hospital has advised members of the public who witness or experience a severed limb to call the hand and reconstructive microsurgery department at 01256112 (Ext: 856).

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