Dog rips off mans nose during epileptic seizure in his sleep | UK | News

A man who lost his nose when his dog ripped it off while trying to save him from a seizure has undergone ten reconstructive surgeries – using bones from his ribs.

Ben Horne, 34, has suffered with epilepsy since he was 15 but after undergoing a change of medication he started having night seizures. During one episode, his dog Henry became spooked and mauled Ben’s face, ripping off his nose, and parts of his mouth and chin.

Ben came to and managed to call for an ambulance but struggled to come to terms with his new appearance. Over the last five years he has had around ten surgeries to reconstruct his face, using bones from his ribs and skin from his forearm and forehead.

Now he is finally starting to accept himself and hopes by sharing his story and he can help others going through something similar.

Ben, of Yeovil, Somerset said: „During one of my night seizures my dog got scared. In the process he did a lot of damage to my face.

„My whole house was plastered in blood. I called 999. I couldn’t really talk but I managed to convey I needed an ambulance.

„When I came round a nurse said ‚I’m going to hand you a mirror and it’s going to be a big shock. I couldn’t quite believe the amount of damage. It was heart-breaking. I’m really trying to accept myself.

„It’s learning to love yourself and the way that you are rather than reflecting on how you used to be.“

After the incident in November 2019, Ben’s top lip was hanging down, he’d lost a lot of his chin and was only left with the septum bone in his nose. He was rushed to Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, for a 10-hour emergency operation to piece what they could back together.

Ben, an aerospace engineer, said: „I remember looking in the mirror and I just wished that I hadn’t managed to call an ambulance. I didn’t see how I could live with what happened.“

Ben decided to go down the route of reconstruction and had an initial reconstruction in May 2021, at Southmead hospital, Bristol – having waited longer due to the delays of the pandemic.

This involved creating more of a septum for his nose but this collapsed after he had to wait until October 2021 for the next surgery. They took skin from his left forearm to create the inner part of his nose.

Ben said: „Both my forearms are tattooed so I had to make a decision over which I preferred. At least I can say I have a tattooed inside in my nose.“

They also took bones from his ribs in the same surgery and an artery from his forearm to connect this into his neck. He had another surgery in September 2022 to take part of the skin from his forehead and fold it down over the top of the tattooed skin.

He explained: „Having the forehead flap – it was huge on my face. They have to leave the skin connected so you have a huge lump hanging over your eyes.“

His surgeon decided to go private mid-way through his surgeries but Exeter plastics team were able to step in. They completed a surgery in March 2023 where they took more bone from his hip and the cartilage in his rib to bolt it onto his forehead – after the previous donor bone got infected.

In May 2023 Ben had the forehead skin disconnected and the team have since been completing operation to work on the structure of his nose. He still needs plastic tubes to help him breathe so the next step is to find a way to remove those without his nose closing up.

The 34-year-old is now finally starting to accept his new appearance but has struggled with stares.

He said: „It’s very difficult when you see people staring at you for too long.They look at you like an object. It was a lot of embarrassment.

„I liken it to a dream where you are naked in public. You want to hide but you can’t.You can’t change things and what has happened.“

Ben is fundraising to support Exeter Plastic Surgery and Epilepsy Action. He will be taking part in two Tough Mudder’s and two 50k races. You can support him by clicking here.

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