Doctors give woman a thumb from her toe

June 21, 2010 6:54:18 PM PDT
Can a toe function as a finger? After an accident left a woman without her thumb, doctors amputated her toe to replace it.

Twenty-five year old Shannon Elliott has a philosophy on life that everything happens for a reason and in her case it's a mantra that has gotten her through the toughest of times.

In November of 2009, Shannon was walking when someone drove by and threw an M80 at her leg. She bent down to see what it was and the firework exploded in her hand. Elliott lost 3 fingers and was faced with a tough proposition. She could lose her big toe in order to regain a thumb.

Doctors at Stony Brook University explained that by replacing Elliot's left thumb with her big toe she would essentially gain a hand. Moreover, amputating a toe has little impact on the ability to walk or run.

Two weeks ago, the surgical team performed the 11 hour toe to thumb transplant and it was, by all accounts, a success.

Doctors say it will take 6 to 9 months before Elliot regains full mobility in her hand. The good news is that the toe will eventually shrink and look like a thumb.

Elliott has 2 small children and says it's the simple things she's looking forward to, like cooking or even changing a diaper. A hug will make it all worth while.