Marathon surgery restores 'identity' of Bengaluru man after face disfigured in accident

June 27, 2019

The story of 33-year-old Vikram is not just about recuperating from an accident but also regaining his identity.

The story of 33-year-old Vikram is not just about recuperating from an accident but also regaining his identity. He met with a road accident and completely lost his face, with even his family failing to recognise him.

Vikram suffered injuries on his face and upper neck when his car collided into a stationary truck parked on the roadside, leaving the vehicle half-crushed. The bones that hold the eyeball into the socket were fractured, and the eyeball was dangling out. His nose, cheeks and lips had completely come out. His teeth were broken and he was bleeding profusely.

He was brought to Columbia Asia Hospital, Sarjapur Road, by a bystander. "Upon initial evaluation, Vikram was found to have severe haemorrhagic shock and his blood pressure could not even be recorded," Dr Bharath S P, consultant cosmetic and plastic surgeon, at the hospital, said.

His face revealed severe trauma with crush injury, exposing multiple pieces of facial bony fragments. There was a lot of blood in the throat, which increased the risk of blood suddenly entering his lungs. With low consciousness, there were chances of him choking on it and dying.

He was immediately intubated in the emergency room and airway was secured. After fluid resuscitation, he was taken to the operation theatre in order to stop all the bleeders and stabilise his condition.

It took seven hours for all the bleeders to be stopped, and the contamination to be removed so that no infection occurred. Before proceeding for a technical surgery to fix the facial fractures, a temporary closure was done for Vikram to recover and stabilise.

After emergency surgery, he was put in the ICU for complete stabilisation over the next five days, with multiple blood transfusions and ventilator support. It took 12 hours to fix all the facial bones. Owing to multiple fractures in his mouth and jaw, Vikram could not chew or even swallow, so feeding was managed with a tube. He was evaluated by an ophthalmologist for his left eye vision.

Once stable, Vikram was able to take oral liquids with straw and syringe. "Post dental rehabilitation and with mouth exercising, he is much better now. His vision is also restored. We are just treating the scars with scar massages, otherwise the patient is doing fine," the doctor said.

"I never thought I would get back to normal,” Vikram said. “I was in a very critical condition and my face was completely damaged. I was shattered when I saw myself after regaining consciousness, and had zero hopes of getting back my identity. But today I’m glad that I have got my face back, all thanks to all the doctors and the staff at the hospital," he added.

According to Bharath, in such road traffic accidents, it is also crucial for bystanders to take the responsibility and help the patient reach the nearest hospital on time as each second can make a difference.