An orthopaedic surgeon from New Orleans has started sharing his outrageous operations on social media – and his followers are hooked.
Though most of Dr Nick Pappas’ hand surgeries only last about 30 minutes, the memories of what he’s seen – everything from catfish spines, extra fingers and rings the skin has grown over – last a lifetime.
“I had one guy with a snake bite, with a snake bite, which can make the whole hand swell up like a balloon,” the 43-year-old told SWNS, as reported by the New York Post.
“He’d killed the snake after it attacked him, and all the nurses were freaking out because the guy had a snake bite, the container – and the dead snake, which he’d brought with him.”
Dr Pappas said he once pulled sea urchin spines from a patient’s hand after the person fell onto one of the creatures, embedding the spines as far as the bone.
He also reported removing gangrene-infected fingers, BB gun pellets and electrical wire.
He did say he’s a bit screwed when someone needs help with a screw in their hand, because he has to follow a specific protocol before he can even attempt to dig it out.
“If it’s a screw, I have to find where it entered and find the brand of screw and try different screwdrivers to remove it,” Dr Pappas explained.
“It might be that the head of the screw is damaged, or the screw is stuck to the bone, and I have to chisel it out of the hand instead. You need the right imaging and the right instruments. It can be challenging, and it’s not always straightforward.”
But when it comes to gunshots, Dr Pappas said, most of the time it’s better to leave the bullets alone or observe them over time – unless they’re sticking out of the skin, or it’s a full bullet.
“In general, surgeons don’t remove bullets from the extremities unless they are causing pain, are very superficial, are in a joint, or are pushing on a neurovascular structure,” he said.
“Sometimes it can be more harmful to try to take it out than to just leave it in, as long as it’s not causing any issues.”
When he’s not quickly removing wacky items from appendages, Dr Pappas turns his attention to finger amputations and reattachments, which he said can be “challenging” and time-consuming.
“I did one where I replaced someone’s thumb with their big toe. It took 12 hours and can be very tricky because the size doesn’t always match up,” he said.
“If you mess it up, and the blood vessels don’t work properly, then it can lead to a bad outcome. Thankfully, this one was successful.”
And it’s never a dull day at the office.
“I also had one that was done from a Samurai sword that took off three of his fingers, and it took 10 hours to reattach all the nerves, the tendons and the bones,” he said.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission