NEW HYDE PARK, NY –Sporting a Superman T-shirt, 1-year-old Brandon Torres proved today that he really does possess incredible strength. The energetic little boy joined his parents and big brother, Sebastian, to thank the pediatric plastic surgeon who created a new thumb for Brandon’s right hand.
As a result of a condition known as Duane-radial ray syndrome, Brandon was born without a right thumb. One day after his birth, his concerned parents, Yuli Ramirez and Anderson Torres, of Flushing, Queens, met with Nicholas Bastidas, MD, of Cohen Children’s Medical Center.
After examining the baby, Dr. Bastidas informed the parents that he would be able to surgically reconstruct a viable thumb by working with Brandon’s index finger.
“Using a technique known as pollicization, I was able to shorten Brandon’s right index finger and rotate it into a new position while, at the same time, lengthening and preserving blood vessels using a microscopic dissection.”
Dr. Bastidas explained that the thumb is the single most important finger in the hand, allowing humans to grasp and pinch.
“This digit is so important,” he said, “that there is a specific area of the brain associated with the task of movement.”
During the three-hour operation on April 27th, Dr. Bastidas transferred all the arteries, veins, muscles, bones of Brandon’s right index finger to create a functional thumb. “All of this was completed without losing any blood by using a tourniquet,” he said.
One month post-surgery, Brandon’s little cast was removed. During a media event held at the hospital, his proud parents thanked Dr. Bastidas for creating such a realistic, working digit.
“The baby will begin occupational therapy to perfect using his new thumb by picking up small objects and establishing fine motor skills,” said Dr. Bastidas. “He’ll be able to engage in all the important activities that little boys enjoy—especially texting.”
Brandon’s parents consider their little Superman to be a true hero. In an emotional statement, Mr. Torres described his admiration for his spirited little boy.
“One day, I was driving and I decided to stop using my thumb—just to experience the world the way Brandon was seeing it,” he said. “After all this fear and worry, my son is strong and healthy. His mother and I are filled with gratitude.”
About the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York
Opened in 1983, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York is home to about 675 pediatricians, including 200 full-time physicians, and a total workforce of more than 1,200, including more than 500 nurses. For the eighth consecutive year in 2014, CCMC was ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2014-15 “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” survey.