technique Doctors Health Mental On The Frontline AIDS Palliative Care leave Nurse operations doctor depression Wuhan
Photo Credit: Pexels

Mark van der Velde, a leading plastic surgeon just made history in South Africa by performing a transplant surgery on a 4-year-old with no fingers.


Angelique was born with bilateral symbrachydactyly which is a congenital condition. Babies with symbrachydactyly often have fingers, hands and sometimes even the arms that don’t fully form while in the womb. This may happen because the area doesn’t get enough blood flow or because of some other problem with the tissue.

Doctor Mark van der Velde, a plastic surgeon from Cape Town, has been working with Angelique and her family since she was just six-months-old.

“Usually‚ symbrachydactyly occurs only in one limb‚ but in her case she was born without a hand on her left side and without fingers on her right hand, apart from a rudimentary right thumb‚” the Western Cape health department said.

To help Angelique, Doctor van der Velde performed a historic surgery where a toe was transformed into a finger and transplanted onto the childs hand. The surgery took place at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town and lasted a total of 11 hours.

A team of four was put in place to do the lengthy surgery which was led by Doctor Mark van der Velde, a cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon. Doctor van der Velde works as Consultant Plastic Surgeon at The Congenital Hands Clinic at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

This surgery marked the fourth time that Doctor van der Velde has operated on Angelique. Now that her surgery is complete, she will spend the next few months working with occupational therapists to better the use of her new finger. It has been not only a historic surgery, but also a potentially life-changing one.

Sources: Herald Live / Cape Town Plastic Surgery
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens.
Click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast, with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to and he truly believes that there’s good news all around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll hopefully leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *