As a result of a work-related accident, Jennifer lost her right thumb at the knuckle. She also lost all of the hair-bearing parts of her scalp and both ears. Immediately after the accident, Jennifer’s doctors placed a skin graft over the stump of the thumb and covered her scalp and ear injuries with another skin graft. Unfortunately, Jennifer’s scalp and ear grafts remained unstable and unsightly, so she wanted to explore the surgical options to improve her quality of life.
Jennifer’s case manager recommended that she visit Relimb after learning about our range of holistic services and our extensive knowledge of reconstructive plastic surgery techniques.
Jennifer met with the team and we carefully assessed her needs. We listened to Jennifer when she said she did not want an osseointegrated bone-anchor or a toe-to-hand transfer to reconstruct her missing thumb. In fact, her goals were to have a longer thumb, a stable scalp and replacements for her ears. She told us that these improvements would help her feel more confident about returning to her daily routines.
We provided Jennifer with a surgical plan to make her goals a reality:
- We used a technique called distraction-lengthening of bone to create a new thumb. To allow her soft tissues to adapt to the lengthening bone, we also used tissue-expansion techniques.
- We recreated the web space between Jennifer’s thumb and forefinger using a skin flap taken from her forearm.
- For Jennifer’s ears, we inserted osseointegrated bone-anchors into the bone around her ear holes. These allowed high quality silicone ears (provided by our rehabilitation partners) to be attached securely.
- Finally, we resurfaced her scalp with soft tissues taken from her abdomen. This removed the unstable areas of skin and allowed us to reposition her eyebrows.
*Name changed to respect our patient’s privacy