Following an accident with an agricultural machine, a 25-year-old young man was transferred to the CHRSM – Meuse site where the SOS-Mains Namur center is located, his forearm completely amputated below the elbow. He was immediately taken care of by the team of the only center of this type in Wallonia. The four microsurgeons carried out an operation lasting 8 hours. Accustomed to working as a team, they managed to relocate the man’s arm. ” It is important for us to work as a team, it allows us to be able to count on each other to take turns and assist each other during the intervention. explains Dr. Bombaerts.
The operation was complex because the forearm has important muscular structures which quickly suffer from the lack of irrigation. ” Time was running out, says Dr. Bombaerts. The team only had 6 hours to reimplant it from the moment the arm was amputated. Every minute counted and represented an increased risk of developing reperfusion syndrome: there can be a blockage in the kidneys due to the release of toxins, which can lead to the death of the patient. Several sutures of arteries, veins and nerves had to be done under the microscope. The operation was a real success! ».
Despite the severity of the trauma, “if the patient will not be able to fully recover in terms of function and feeling, we hope that he will be able to recover overall grip and useful function” explains Dr. Morana. This definitive functional evaluation can be done after 1 year. The patient will have to wait 9 months to recover a certain percentage of sensitivity. However, muscle control will have to be completely relearned with a long rehabilitation.
Arm or forearm amputations have fortunately become very rare with the securing of industrial machines, but finger reimplantations are much more frequent at SOS-Mains, on patients regularly transferred from other hospitals.
Since 2013, the hand surgery team at the CHRSM – Meuse site has received the SOS-Mains label. An international recognition held by only three other centers in Belgium. Composed of a team of 6 dedicated surgeons, the center provides adult and pediatric care 24 hours a day. Their very high level of expertise, combined with an effective multidisciplinary approach (with radiologists, anesthesiologists, rheumatologists, neurologists, physiotherapists and paramedics) makes it possible to establish, in record time, a lesion diagnosis and to plan a rapid surgical act in optimal conditions.
Incidents affecting the hand are very frequent, whatever the season, and most of the time linked to the use of various machine tools: mower, hedge trimmer, circular saw, log splitter. During one of these traumas, consulting an approved SOS-Mains center allows immediate treatment by the most expert hands.