According to Shannon Elliot, 25, of East Moriches, having the complicated operation was a "no brainer."
"I would rather lose a toe, and gain a whole hand," she told PIX 11 News, just two weeks after undergoing the rare surgery at Stony Brook University Medical Center.
Hand surgeon Dr. Jason Ganz performed the procedure on June 7. Ganz along with a team of three other surgeons, two nurses and two anesthesiologists completed the surgery in roughly 11 hours.
Amputating Elliott's toe to replace her missing thumb was a recommendation made by Ganz, who is no stranger to risky procedures. Just weeks ago, Ganz successfully reattached the hand of a construction worker, severed by a log-splitting machine.
Ganz took nearly half a year to develop a blueprint to plan out Elliott's surgery -- a first of its type for him and the hospital.
According to Ganz, the brain will soon react to the toe as if it were a thumb, giving Elliott full use of her hand again.
"When she touches something it will be her thumb from the second she regains sensation there, her brain will interpret that as her thumb, the only difference is it's a little larger than a thumb." said Ganz. "In 1 to 3 years actually, atrophy to were it should waste away to where it gets the size of her thumb."
The success of the procedure will also allow her to begin to move forward from the incident that changed her life months earlier.
On Nov. 1, Elliott was walking down a street in Mastic when she was hit by an exploding firecracker that was thrown from a moving vehicle. The East Moriches woman was rushed to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center where doctors assessed her injuries and were forced to amputate her thumb and two fingers on her left hand. An arrest has yet to be made in the incident. Anyone with information is urged to call the Suffolk County Police Department.