Saint Louis University

Walter Knoll is probably best known as a St. Louis florist. However, when an accident severed his thumb, the possibility of struggling to create flower arrangements was not his first fear.

"My biggest concern was I really thought my piano playing days were over," Knoll says. While woodworking, the saw blade had slipped, irreparably destroying the end of his thumb. "After a few days, it had turned black and I thought I would have to lose the whole thumb."

After he had returned home, he began wondering if he should move forward with having the thumb amputated. Then, he got call from Bruce Kraemer, M.D., Saint Louis University plastic surgeon. "Dr. Kraemer said there was a new option," Knoll says.

After doctors apply a compound to a wound like Knoll's, tissue actually regenerates and fills in the area of tissue loss. Over the past few years, Dr. Kramer has used regenerative compounds on several patients who have presented with traumatic injuries. In each case, the compounds not only grew back the tissue, but blocked harmful scarring that would usually occur. 

In the case of Knoll, the results have been amazing.  Through tissue regeneration, Dr. Kraemer's work allowed him to preserve the thumb's length without sacrifices.