The left thumb of a 2-month-old baby in China became tangled in a strand of his mother's hair and was almost amputated.
The single strand of hair became so tightly wound that the infant's thumb swelled to more than double its size, the Daily Mail reports.
The painful entanglement was fortunately noticed in time and doctors successfully removed the hair during an operation on Feb. 10 and were able to save the thumb from amputation.
The hair became trapped under the skin after tightening, which caused a rare condition known as "toe tourniquet syndrome."
Though uncommon, doctors treat dozens of cases a year without requiring the loss of the appendage.
One review found that the syndrome affected the toes of 43 percent of cases of children, 24 percent their fingers and 33 percent, their genitalia.
The age of typical child sufferers of toe tourniquet syndrome range from four days to 19 months old. The affected children usually cry relentlessly due to the physical pain of the condition.
The young age group is at risk due to the significant postpartum hair loss which affect 90 percent of new mothers.
The young mother of the affected baby, Ms. Wang, brought her newborn baby to the Renci hospital in Xuzhou on Feb. 10.
She told Jiangsu TV that the baby cried for four or five days until the thumb swelled enough for her to notice the accident.
The mother said: "Perhaps it happened when i was holding him up close, I didn't notice at all and I was not checking thoroughly."
The hair is wrapped around the left thumb for few days, stopping circulation and causing swelling around the thumb.
Dr. Hu Jun Sheng stated the hair strand could have led to tissue death and amputation if the mother had waited just a day later.
"The soft tissue of the thumb is torn, causing slow blood flow to the finger tip," he said.
Dr. Hu removed the hair strand with an operating microscope. The baby is now recovering.