Doctors in Brazil have devised a brilliant idea to save the hand of a 42-year-old machine production operator from being amputated by putting it inside a pocket in his belly.
Carlos Mariotti, suffered a horrific work accident that ripped off all the skin on his hand but doctors decided to bury his damaged mitt in the soft tissue pouch for six weeks to save the hand from infections.
Orthopaedic and traumatology doctor Boris Brandao, who performed the rare operation, explained: 'Mr Marriott suffered a de-gloving injury which left him with very little skin on the palm and back of his hand, exposing the bones and tendons inside.
'This was a very large and delicate injury and the only place we could fit the whole hand was in the abdomen.
'Without this procedure, there would be a high risk of infection and the tissue and tendons would rot away.'
Mr Mariotti, who remains hospitalised in the Santa Otília Hospital, said he is a very lucky man.
'I still get very emotional when I think about the accident. But it was only when doctors told me I could lose my hand that I realised the gravity of the situation.
'When I woke up from the operation I didn't know whether it was still there. I couldn't believe it when they said they had tucked my hand inside me.'
Heavy bandages around the mid-size man's midriff keeps his arm firmly in place. But doctors have warned that he must move his mangled extremity 'gently around to avoid the hand becoming stiff.'
Cringing slightly, he said: 'It's a really weird feeling trying to wiggle my fingers inside my body and creepy seeing my tummy protrude slightly as I prod around.'
The right-handed factory worker lost two fingers - his index and middle fingers - in the accident but said: 'I am just so grateful because at least I will still be able to hold a fork, grip a steering wheel and dress myself without any help.'
Mr Mariotti was operating a machine that manufactures coils at the Zettapack Plastic factory, close to where he lives, when his hand was dragged into the heavy duty equipment.
He was alone on the factory floor at the time and recalls feeling an 'indescribable pain' as the machine chewed up his limb.
The experienced factory worker, who recently re-joined the company after leaving in 2001 said: 'It was like watching a movie play out in front of me. I saw the machine pulling my hand in and couldn't do anything about it.'
When colleagues failed to respond to his screams, the desperate worker took drastic action, wrenching his hand out of the machine himself.
Workmates came running seconds later and tried to save the bloodied and tattered appendage by wrapping it tightly in bandages.
Dr Brandao said medics decided to perform an immediate 'salvaging' procedure because 'if we can save a hand we always try to find a way to do so'.
He explained: 'In order to keep the wounded hand alive, we opened the abdomen, took off the skin and put it inside the cavity to protect it.
'The patient's hand must stay in the pocket for about 42 days to ensure it develops new tissue and tendon material which is capable of receiving a replanted skin graft.'
Wow! BIG Ups to the Docs and Science