Surgeons Reattach Teen’s Severed Arm After Off-Road Accident

June 29, 2018 Last Updated: June 29, 2018

A North Carolina boy’s arm was severed and reattached following an off-road vehicle accident, according to officials at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center news release.

“It was a complete out-of-body experience while we were waiting for EMS to arrive,” Crystal Hughes, the boy’s mother, said in the news release.

Tyler Hughes’s arm was severed by the vehicle’s roll bar when the vehicle flipped, the release stated. Doctors were able to reattach the limb, which was severed above the elbow.

The surgery took 9.5 hours in January at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

“Tyler’s surgery required a multidisciplinary team effort between our vascular and orthopaedic hand teams,” said Dr. Matthew Goldman, assistant professor of vascular surgery at Wake Forest Baptist. “For an injury that traumatic, a patient requires quick and specialized care from a broad range of providers and his success thus far has been a testament to that care.”

Vascular surgeons removed a vein from the 13-year-old’s leg to bypass an artery in his arm. Orthopedic surgeons repaired his bones.

Doctors said that Tyler’s mom’s quick thinking saved his life. She tied a scarf around his arm to stop the blood loss after the crash.

It could take years before Tyler’s nerves grow back and regenerate, the doctor said.

“An injury like Tyler’s can be devastating and it often can take years for the nerves to grow back and regenerate,” said Goldman. “At this point, we are still uncertain as to what his long-term functional outcome will be; however, by all of our teams acting quickly, we were able to give him the potential to have a functional arm in the future.”

Tyler has undergone six surgeries, and he’s now able to grip various items such as door handles and lightweight bags. He has to undergo therapy once per week as he gains sensation in his left arm.

“I’ll never forget Dr. Goldman walking out and telling our family that not only had they saved my son’s life, they also were able to save his arm,” said his mother. “They did it, it’s on there, and it’s working. We are just so blessed and forever grateful for Tyler’s care and my hope is to share his story and that it can help someone.”


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