This article claims that a pig bladder was used to regenerate a finger: https://humanlimbregeneration.com/man-regrows-finger-tip-with-pigs-bladder/

There are actually quite a few articles on the web claiming similar stories. However, I had a friend lose a finger after a burn and no "pig-bladder" regeneration procedure was performed on her. So this makes me doubt the regeneration story as why wouldn't doctors regenerate limbs if it was true.

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    Note that there is a huge difference between regrowing a finger tip and regrowing a complete finger, let alone a limb. The article you link to actually makes the limits of the current technology very explicit: "The ECM powder cannot regenerate a whole finger that has been lost, at least not yet."
    – IMSoP
    Jul 29 '21 at 19:25
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    The injury in the linked story is very much like when I lost the tips of two adjacent fingers in a mower blade accident, down to the edge of nail bed and exposing the bone of both fingers. The flesh grew back with the normal furrowed 'finger prints' leaving no scarring at all, with no pixie dust, no pig graft, nothing except dressings. As the duplicate question quotes "It looked to have been an ordinary fingertip injury with quite unremarkable healing." Jul 29 '21 at 22:23
  • To add to the anecdotal evidence, I've had a similar experience to @WeatherVane; about 4mm off the tips of a couple of fingers. I only used plasters (band aids) and have no scars either.
    – Griffin
    Jul 30 '21 at 9:59
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    The answers do well at addressing the claims of the article, but I'd like to comment on the question of "why wasn't this treatment offered to my friend." In general, keep in mind that there is a huge difference between a single instance proof of concept in a research setting and a practical, cost effective, and government approved treatment for the general public. The lack of the latter does not preclude the existence of the former.
    – Tashus
    Jul 30 '21 at 16:12

The damage wasn't nearly as bad as the articles would make it appear, and the healing process was, according to one hand surgeon, completely normal.

The story was picked up by BBC, CBS News, and Popular Science, among other organizations. However, none of these articles shared pictures of the before and after.

The Guardian (NSFW) also picked up the story in a series called Bad Science and had a picture of the before and after of the damage. The writer was also immediately skeptical of the story.

Now firstly, if you look at the pictures accompanying this column, you will see from the "before" image that there is no missing finger, so we might naively intuit that there is no "missing finger grows back" story to be written. In fact, from the grainy images and scant descriptions available - despite blanket news media coverage, including television interviews - it seems this bloke lost about 3/8 of an inch of skin and flesh from the tip of his finger, and the nail bed is intact.

If your experience of rollerskating injuries is not enough, Simon Kay, professor of hand surgery at the University of Leeds, saw the before-and-after pictures, and says: "It looked to have been an ordinary fingertip injury with quite unremarkable healing. This is junk science."

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    The picture at the Guardian link is gory but not terrible so. You'd need sensitive colleagues for it to be NSFW and you can quickly scroll past it. Ben Goldacre's take is worth reading - he's a medical scientist and knows his stuff, but also writes well (the first quote) and gets good interviews from medical professionals (e.g. the 2nd quote)
    – Chris H
    Jul 30 '21 at 8:46
  • @ChrisH figured I'd rather be safe than sorry with the Guardian link.
    – DenisS
    Jul 30 '21 at 13:44
  • I don't blame you, and the answer wouldn't be improved by a longer warning, but I figured a comment could be a footnote making it clear why it's possibly NSF* and a 2nd opinion
    – Chris H
    Jul 30 '21 at 13:49

Regarding fingertips growing back naturally, I can cite a personal example - my mother. When she was a child, she came in after playing in the snow and slammed the door shut on a fingertip. This sliced off the flesh and some portion of the bone, but the nailbed must have been left intact (as with the linked article).

I'm assuming there must have been some metal strip along the door or frame, to slice it rather than just crushing it. Apparently her fingers were cold enough that she didn't feel it at the time, which I would assume also helped recovery. This was sometime in the 1950s, so definitely no magic pig's bladder powder then.

Her finger healed and subsequently appears completely normal. The fingertip is covered with flesh and skin, the fingernail is normal, and she has no loss of sensation. She's had a career as a piano teacher, so there is certainly no loss of dexterity either! But if she puts her hands together, that finger is noticeably shorter than the finger on her other hand by about 3/8", due to the loss of bone length.

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