Dr. Neil Jones is among a few surgeons in the world to master the highly complex procedure of transferring toes microsurgically onto the hand to construct new thumbs and fingers. Jones, an orthopedic surgery professor, has performed many of these surgeries on very small children who are born without fingers, yet go on to lead normal lives. One former patient became a champion gymnast.
“Because children’s hands are so small, these procedures are extremely technically demanding and are right on the limit of what you can do surgically,” says Jones, who came to UCI this year from UCLA to direct the UC Irvine Center for Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery.
“When a young child begins to use his hands like he’s never done before, it’s hard to describe the immense satisfaction you get from that.”