MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Animal bites are more common than most people think, with two to five million occurring each year in the U.S. See how a unique series of surgeries changed the life of a teenager whose nose was bitten off by a horse!
Riding horses has been a passion for Valeria Romero. Then, three years ago, while in a stall, she got the shock of a lifetime.
Romero told Ivanhoe, “I didn’t even see him. It was like a flash, like a jack-in-the-box. He got me.”
Romero didn’t know she was bitten by a horse until an ER nurse told her part of her nose was gone.
Romero said, “What do you say to that? Like a part of my face was missing.”
Luckily, Joshua Lampert, MD, a reconstructive plastic surgeon who specializes in nasal tip reconstruction was on call that day. Dr. Lampert rebuilt Romero’s nose using a unique procedure called the forehead flap.
“I used tissue from her forehead, based off an artery that comes out of the eye socket right here, and I brought that down,” explained Dr. Lampert.
The tissue is left connected to the artery for two months allowing blood supply to grow. This part is difficult for the patient because the artery is visible from the outside.
“I told my mom I’m sorry, but can we cover up anything that reflects in the house?” detailed Romero.
Dr. Lampert then used cartilage from Romero’s ear to recreate the skeletal framework of her nose.
“We can carve now like a sculpture of the nose the way we want it to look,” said Dr. Lampert.
After her fourth procedure, Romero was ready to see her new nose and face in the mirror!
Romero told Ivanhoe, “I was like that’s my face! It was so weird.”
Now studying photography in college, Romero looks forward to riding again one day.
Romero described, “It’s like when a surfer gets bitten by a shark, they go right back into the water.”
Or for Romero, literally, getting back on the horse.
Romero said even though the process was a lot to go through, it was worth it. The series of surgeries can cost up to $20,000 or more but her procedures were covered by the “Day of Smiles” charity at Baptist Hospital in Miami. This technique generally takes a series of four procedures and can be used to treat skin cancers and other traumatic injuries to the nose. For more information on nasal tip reconstruction go to www.lampertmd.com.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.