A Scottish fisherman who had his thumb ripped off in a freak accident had one of his toes transplanted in its place.

Donald Gunn's thumb was torn off at the palm when his hand got caught in a rope on deck, the Daily Record reported Thursday.

The 57 year old feared he would never work again, but surgeons took the unusual step of transplanting his second toe onto his right hand.


Plastic surgeon Amir Tadros led the 12-hour operation at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

"It's a rare and very complex procedure but the difference it could make to Mr. Gunn's life convinced me it was worth trying," Tadros said. "The operation was an endurance test for the surgical team and the patient but the recovery we are seeing already has made it all worth it."

Tadros used Gunn's second toe rather than his big toe to preserve his balance and the appearance of his foot.

Gunn said, "I was unable to work, my right hand became essentially useless and I felt really, really low."

"It might only be a small part of the body but it's only when you lose it that you realize how important it is," he added. "I'm delighted. I can't thank Mr. Tadros and his team enough. The difference it has made already is unbelievable."

Gunn will regain use of his hand when the nerves have fused fully, which could take up to six months.

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