‘It went perfect’: Local woman undergoes groundbreaking surgery after losing most of arm to raccoon bite

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NORTH CANTON, Ohio – It’s been less than a week since Melissa Loomis went under the knife for a surgery that’s never been done here in the U.S., and said she’s already making great progress.

"So the surgery ended up being 16 hours, but it went perfect. There were no problems. Melissa did fantastic. The OR team was wonderful. It was almost like we had done this before,” said Dr. Ajay Seth.

Dr. Seth had the challenge of rearranging the nerves in what’s left of Melissa’s right arm. She had most of it amputated this summer after getting bit by a raccoon.

He said by doing this procedure, they’ll eventually be able to fit her for a prosthetic arm that’s so advanced, she’ll be able to feel it and control it with her mind.

"I mean we did everything we could. It's kind of in God's hands now to see if those nerves can join now and come together,” he explained.

He said the surgery also helped eliminate the phantom pain she was feeling.

"The phantom pain is pretty much gone. I can still feel my hand and feel tingling, but it's not painful like it was before,” said Melissa.

She said she’s optimistic at this point and is ready for the next step.

"I have occupational therapy and I expect I'll get massage therapy and scar tissue therapy like I was before. Just working on flexing my muscles and I don't know yet after that,” she said.

She said none of this would’ve been possible without the support of her family, friends and of course Dr. Seth and the rest of his team.

"I have a great family and a great bunch of people looking out for me,” she said.

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