This man had his hand surgically attached to his ankle

Xiao Wei lost his right hand in an accident, but surgeons couldn't re-attach it right away. His arm needed time to heal. But his hand was in desperate need of a blood supply – so surgeons attached it to arteries in his left ankle. Warning: Graphic hankle imagery below the fold.

This man had his hand surgically attached to his ankle

Hand-reattachment surgery of this nature is rare, but it's not unheard of, and Chinese surgeons are reportedly quite skilled in the microsurgical techniques required for full-hand reattachment. (Some years ago, when doctors at Stony Brook University Medical Center successfully re-attached both of a man's hands, surgeons were quick to point out that the rare procedure had only been performed once before – in China.)

This man had his hand surgically attached to his ankle

What makes this case particularly rare is the surgeons' decision to attach Wei's hand to his ankle.

"The concept of saving a severed part of the body by attaching it to another part of the body to give it a blood supply is well recognised," said Cairian Healy of the Royal College of Surgeons in England in an interview with the BBC. "The ankle is a hard place to graft though. Usually surgeons would go for the armpit because the blood supply is better."

[BBC]