A motorbike racer who had three fingers ripped off in a high-speed crash is getting his life back on track after having two of his toes removed and reattached to his hand.
Father-of-three Jonas Barber, of Blake Crescent, Guiseley, Leeds, underwent the 12-hour operation at the Spire Hospital in Roundhay, Leeds.
The painstaking transfer was carried out by Professor Simon Kay, the same surgeon who carried out the UK’s first hand transplant in December. He’ll soon undergo another operation to remove unsightly scar tissue.
But despite his ordeal, petrol-head Jonas, 31, saw the restoration of his grip as an opportunity to return to his lifelong passion.
“I was willing to do anything to get back on a bike,” he says. “But it has also meant I can do all kinds of day-to-day things like hold a laptop or grab a pint.
“They aren’t the prettiest of things, but I don’t really care. All that matters is that I have some function back.”
The married auto-electrics expert, who runs his own business in Guiseley called Auto Teknik, was injured during a race in Lincolnshire in July, 2011. The operation took place in March.
Prof Kay, who has carried out similar procedures in the past, used the toe next to the big toe from each of Jonas’s feet. This provided him with large enough digit substitutes, but didn’t adversely affect foot function.
Jonas certainly seems to be taking the presence of his unusual digits in his stride – as does his family.
“When I first had the accident we initially told my youngest daughter my fingers would grow back,” he said “And since I’ve had the toes sewn on to my hand she thinks that’s exactly what’s happened – and we aren’t about to tell her any different.”