Father who lost three fingers in a horrific motorbike smash has them replaced… with two of his TOES
Jonas Barber lost three fingers during a motorbike race in Lincolnshire
The toe next to big toe on each foot was removed and attached to his right hand in 12-hour operation last year
'They aren't the prettiest of things but I don't really care,' says 31-year-old
Mr Barber pictured on the day of the accident with his daughter Freya. He told her his fingers would grow back
Mr Barber lost three fingers (left) in the smash. He now has two toes acting as replacements (right)
Mr Barber said: 'To start with their wasn't
much pain but as the recovery goes on the more the nerves knit and the
more pain you get because you are getting more sensation.
the bandages come off you still recognise them as your toes and they
are never really going to look like your fingers, although a lot of
people do comment how well it looks.
'I'm still self-conscious with it but we have done it for function, that's the main objective.'
HOW TO TRANSPLANT A TOE
A toe transplant is a potential treatment for someone who has a number of fingers missing.
The most commonly transplanted toe is the second toe as it is the longest and has joints, a nail, sensitive pulp tissue and a reliable blood supply.
The foot is repaired by closing the gap between the third and the big toe, leaving a scar.
One second toe can be taken from each foot with very little effect on the function and appearance of it.
When each toe is transferred its blood vessels must be successfully joined to similar vessels in the hand for it to survive. This part of the operation is performed under an operating microscope.
Tendons (to allow movement where required) and nerves (to allow feeling) and the bone must also be rejoined to their counterparts in the hand.
The bone is usually held together with fine pins while it heals. These are usually withdrawn 3-6 weeks after the op.
After the transplant the arm is immobilised with a plaster splint. This is left for three weeks before the dressing is changed.
Feeling gradually returns to the nerves over around 12 weeks, often creating a pins-and-needles sensation.
After this the splint can be worn less and less. Stretches help the joints to recover.
He added that his wife Carla and three daughters Amelia, eight, Madison, six and Freya, four, were all happy with his new hand.
with the new fingers I can hold a pint glass properly, which is great.
Little things like that are taken for granted but I can enjoy a drink,
hold a laptop without dropping it, hold a bottle,' he said.
feet were fine as well. It wasn't just the toe but they cut into the
foot they needed skin for my hand. The feet been narrowed in effect.
'Racing is a real passion for me and now with the transplant that is the goal. I would like to be track daying by the start of next year.'
He was treated by Prof Simon Kay, who carried out the UK's first hand transplant on Mark Cahill in December.
Kay, seen as a pioneer in his field, used the toe next to the big toe
from each of Jonas' feet, providing him with large enough digit
substitutes without causing him problems with balance.
The professor usually carries out the procedure on babies and very young children and says adult patients are very rare. He said: 'People think that if you're operating on youngsters it's more tricky because they're small. But it's not, if anything it's more difficult working with the size of an adult's body.'
In the case of Jonas he was a great patient because he has the right personality – he doesn't want to be dramatic or make a big fuss, he just wants to sort himself out and get on with his life.The procedure involves re-attaching the bone, nerves, arteries, tendons, ligaments and skin of the toe to the hand.
However, Prof Kay said: 'It wasn't really complicated surgery. For me and my amazing team, it was relatively straight-forward.
'The operation gives you some feeling, some movement, some power. We aren't trying to create something beautiful, we're trying to create something functional.'
Mr Barber said his children were particularly relieved by the outcome.
'When I first had the accident we
initially told my youngest daughter my fingers would grow back,' he said.
I've had the toes sewn onto my hand she thinks that's exactly what
happened – and we aren't about to tell her any different.'
Mr Barber (right) racing his motorbike on the day of the accident. He said he didn't care that his new hand wasn't the 'prettiest of things' as it worked
Mr Barber is determined to start riding again