With the help of an experimental powder, a man’s severed finger has regrown to its original length in just four weeks, reports London’s Daily Mail.
Lee Spievack, of Cincinnati, who sliced almost half an inch off the top of one of his fingers, described the powder as “pixie dust,” according to the newspaper.
The “pixie dust” is actually extra-cellular matrix, bursting with collagen and is made from a dried pig’s bladder, the newspaper reports.
The dust was designed to regenerate damaged ligaments in horses, the Daily Mail said.
Collagen is known to give skin strength and elasticity. It is thought that the dust kick-starts the body's natural healing process by sending out signals that mobilize the body's own cells into repairing the damaged tissue, according to the newspaper.
Spievack said his finger even has a fingernail and fingerprint.
Spievack injured his finger three years ago when it got caught in the propeller of a model plane. He did not want a skin graft, opting instead to try the “pixie dust.”
“There are all sorts of signals in the body,” said Dr. Stephen Badylak of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. “We have signals that are good for forming scar tissue and others that are good for regenerating tissues.
"One way to think about these matrices is that we've taken out many of the stimuli for scar tissue formation and left those signals which were always there for constructive remodeling."
Essentially, the powder directs tissues to grow fresh instead of forming a scar.
Spievak has not lost any bone, nerves or tendon material.