Massachusetts man, 37, whose face was ravaged by a pet dog has incredible transformation after surgery

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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A man whose face was ravaged by a dog has had it reconstructed using bone from his ribs and cartilage from his ear.

Andrew Koplove, 37, was left with a flat face with two small holes where his nose had been after the animal viciously attacked him in 2017.

The medical device engineer, from Massachusetts, said the injuries were so bad that he was embarrassed to leave the house — and wore a bandage over his nose when he did to stop people from staring.

But over four years following the attack he received 14 surgeries to gradually reconstruct his nose — and give him his confidence back.

Mr Koplove said: ‘Before my nose reconstruction, I lost a lot of myself. People would stare or ask me what happened. It was extremely uncomfortable.’

Mr Koplove is pictured above following the surgeries. It took four years to rebuild his nose

Mr Koplove is shown above before surgery (left) and during the procedure (right) he had 14 surgeries in total over four years to rebuild his nose

Mr Koplove with a friend's dog in San Francisco. There is no indication that these are the dogs who attacked him

Mr Koplove with another dog. There is no indication that these are the dogs who attacked him

Mr Koplove with a friend’s dogs. There is no indication that these are the dogs who attacked him

‘[The surgeries] gave me my life back and the confidence to be myself again, go on dates, meet new people and feel confident in everything I do.’

He added: ‘I didn’t really have any hope during that time of my life until I met [my plastic surgeon].

‘He gave me hope that I would have an excellent result with no lasting noticeable deformities. The team can truly make miracles happen.’

Mr Koplove spent 18 months after the attack in San Francisco, which also damaged his ear, searching for plastic surgeons who could help.

Many turned him down, however, warning that the risk of a permanent deformity from a total nasal reconstruction was too high and that there was a high chance of infection.

But doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio eventually agreed to operate, rebuilding his nose in four stages.

In the first stage, they cut a large tear-shaped skin flap out of the top right side of his forehead and inserted a piece of skin taken from the right thigh underneath.

To reconstruct his nose, the doctors then cut off the skin covering the space where his old nose had been.

The skin flap was then lowered onto this area and had two holes cut into it to form the new nostrils.

The above shows Andrew Koplove, now 37, before the surgery

Andrew Koplove, now 37 and from Massachusetts, has had his nose completely reconstructed after it was ravaged by a dog in 2017

He is pictured again above after the procedure with a new nose

He is pictured again above after the procedure with a new nose 

For the first part of the surgery they removed a skin flap from the top of his forehead and inserted skin from his thigh underneath

For the first part of the surgery they removed a skin flap from the top of his forehead and inserted skin from his thigh underneath

They also rebuilt his nose using cartilage from his ear and bone from his ribs

They also rebuilt his nose using cartilage from his ear and bone from his ribs

They rebuilt part of his nose using cartilage from his ear and bone from his ribs

They rebuilt part of his nose using cartilage from his ear and bone from his ribs 

Doctors then lifted the flap — to expose the skin from the thigh — with cartilage from the ear and bone from the ribs inserted to form the bony structure of the nose.

The flap was then re-attached and contoured to form the shape of a typical nose.

The whole surgical process took about four years and 14 surgeries.

Initially, when the surgeons took the cartilage from Mr Koplove’s ear, this became infected and spread to the whole nose.

They had to repeat the whole process a second time in order to rebuild his nose.

Dr Patrick Byrne, the chief head and neck surgeon who carried out the operations, said: ‘I’ve learned over the years to take these early complications very seriously and act quickly whenever possible.

‘Ultimately, we had to complete a second forehead flap to achieve an acceptable outcome.

He added: ‘Andrew is an inspiration. He managed adversity and handled setbacks all with consistent grace.’

Mr Koplove has now moved to Ohio following his surgery and says he is thrilled to be able to take up cycling, kayaking and snowboarding once more.

Nearly 220,000 rhinoplasties — or surgeries on the nose — are carried out every year in the US, data shows.

Many are carried out to help patients improve their breathing or to achieved a more favorable appearance.

In less common cases, doctors also attempt full nasal reconstructions on victims of accidents such as car crashes or dog attacks.

The average cost of a rhinoplasty is $6,324, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, but that will much lower than a nose reconstruction.

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