In plastic surgery we normally focus on simply removing belly fat, but surgeons in London have recently found an inventive way to re-purpose this fat to provide reconstructive surgery after performing a life-saving procedure on a patient.
The patient in question: television visual effects professional Tim Barter, who works on the popular UK series “Dr. Who.” Barter had lost his house keys one night in 2009, and when he attempted to enter his home through a second story window, he instead plunged 25 feet to the ground.
Barter’s cheek bone and eye socket were shattered in the fall, and he suffered a brain hemorrhage which left him in a coma for 10 days. When he awoke and it became clear that he would survive his injuries, surgeons at King’s College Hospital were then left with the dilemma of how to reconstruct not only Barter’s shattered facial bones, but also a portion of his skull which had been removed to treat swelling related to his brain hemorrhage.
Initially, surgeons followed the popular procedure of fitting Barter with multiple titanium implants.
These types of implants are becoming the standard in the industry, because titanium has shown to cause less infection in patients receiving implants than other materials. At first, plates were only installed in his face, where the cheekbone eye socket had been shattered, but several months later it became apparent that Barter would need an implant in his skull as well.
The opening where Barter’s skull had been removed was causing serious symptoms, including intense pain and vision problems whenever the patient bent over or performed other normal day-to-day activities. When Barter explained the symptoms to his doctors at King’s College Hospital, they used the uninjured portion of his skull to create a template for another titanium implant.
Due to the accident and bone removal, however, some of the muscles in Barter’s temple had begun to wither, leaving a visible hole. This is where the innovative belly fat procedure came in. The UK surgeons removed a portion of fat from Barter’s stomach and injected it into his forehead.
Today, Barter is not only doing well following these procedures, but claims he may be in better health than he was before the accident. He has even taken up sports like kayaking and rock climbing, and says that fear of falling is not an issue.
A serious accident like the one Tim Barter suffered could have been life-ending. Instead, thanks to the dedication and innovation of the plastic surgeons at King’s College Hospital, Barter seems to be living life more fully than ever before.