By Betty Yoo
DEERFIELD, FL (WFLX) - It grew back! A jockey, who's finger was chomped off by his horse, has a new one thanks to a medical miracle in South Florida. The man's finger literally grew back without surgery.
It may be hard to imagine that less than two months ago, a jockey's injured fingertip might have been lost for good.
A New Jersey-based jockey, whose horse accidentally chomped off a third of his finger, found hope in a relatively new procedure that regenerates tissue, even part of the bone. Plus, it didn't involve an operating room.
"[It's] A certain powder, dust, that you sprinkle on your finger every other day. You wrap it up, and long story short it grew back the majority. If it was an inch gone, it grew back three-quarters of an inch, and I'm quite happy," said patient Paul Halpern.
Dr. Eugenio Rodriguez of the Deerfield Beach Outpatient Surgical Center believes he's the first in South Florida to use such technology. "You have to put powder that is actually the bladder of a pig. It's been pulverized, and you apply it over that finger tip," said Dr. Rodriguez.
The treatment is so easy and pain free, Halpern was able to do it at home.
He sprinkled the powder on his wound, mixed this sheet with saline, and repeated this process every other day. "I couldn't notice at the time, but once everything had healed, and the fingernail grew back, which is quite miraculous and the skin healed over, then you really notice," said Halpern.
The science behind it, of course, is much more complex. Once the powder is put on the wound, "It stimulates your body to attract your stem cells, and then the stem cells start producing the tissue that is missing", said Dr. Rodriguez.
Dr. Rodriguez has been using this powder over the last three years to treat more serious wounds that require surgery. He hopes this new kind of application will become mainstream in the near future.
Doctors are already thinking of other ways to use this technology. They believe it could help people, who want to remove tattoos, because it would prevent scarring and allow new skin to regenerate.