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Doctors transplant a man's big toe onto his hand, creating a new thumb

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In this BBC video, you'll meet James Byrne, a paver from Bristol, UK, who lost his thumb while sawing through wood. The injury left him unable to work, and he sought desperately for some way to restore his former ability to lift and grip heavy items. At last, a team of doctors from Frenchay Hospital came up with a solution. They transplanted his left big toe to his hand, creating a new thumb for Byrne. As you can see in the video, his new thumb is already working — he can bend it and move it around just days after his operation.

As biotechnology grows more sophisticated, we're going to see more and more unusual body repairs like Byrne's. We've already seen people with bionic limbs that are controlled by the mind and nervous systems of the people wearing them. Now, we may start to see limbs that are biological or part-biological, transplanted onto the bodies of people who have suffered injuries or who were born with disabilities.


The question is, how long until people start having these kinds of operations for cosmetic reasons? What if it just became fashionable to swap your pinkie finger with your little toe? Would plastic surgeons do it? Probably — for a price.


See more via The BBC

(Thanks for the tip, Kevin!)