Doctors use toe to replace man's thumb lost in industrial accident

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by Brooke Katz

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 15, 2013 at 5:51 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- An incredible surgery is giving Jason Mersmann a new grip on life with his new thumb.

Just three weeks ago, doctors from Kleinert Kutz Handcare Center removed Mersmann's big toe, and used it to create a new thumb for him after he lost his index finger and thumb in an industrial accident back in December.

"If you just have one hand, you're limited in what you can do," Mersmann, who struggled to do simple things like opening a bottle, said.

Dr. Tuna Ozyurek performed the surgery that involved a six hour process of cutting through skin, bone,  even nerves, and then reassembling them. The end result means Jason will once again be able to do many of the things we take for granted.

"Without the thumb, you really don't have what we call a precision grip," Ozyurek said. "You cannot hold a pen, a cup, and you lose a lot of function."

Many people actually refuse to do the surgery because they don't want to give up a toe, but Ozyurek said it's much better to have a thumb. 

Ozyurek said Mersmann will be able to do about 95 percent of the activities he did before and he is already perfecting his walk and balance without a big toe.

For more information about the surgery, you can contact Kleinert Kutz: http://www.kleinertkutz.com/

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