Man with epilepsy who had his nose ripped off by ‘spooked’ pet dog during seizure has it rebuilt using his ribs

A MAN with epilepsy had his nose ripped off by his own pet dog during a vicious mauling which was triggered when the animal got scared during a seizure.

Ben Horne said his house was left “plastered in blood” after the attack which left his top lip hanging down and only the septum bone in his nose intact.

SWNSBen Horne had a series of operations after a vicious mauling from his dog during an epileptic seizure[/caption]

SWNSBen (pictured before the accident) has had epilepsy since he was 15 but a change of medication caused him to start experiencing night seizures[/caption]

Over the last five years, the 34-year-old has had around ten surgeries to reconstruct his face, using bones from his ribs and skin from his forearm and forehead.

Ben has suffered from epilepsy since he was 15 but after undergoing a change of medication he started having night seizures.

During one episode, his dog Henry became scared and attacked Ben’s face ripping off his nose, and parts of his mouth and chin.

I couldn’t quite believe the amount of damage. It was heart-breaking.

Ben Horne

Ben came to and managed to call for an ambulance but struggled to come to terms with his new appearance.

Now, after his surgeries, 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.

SWNSHis pet dog ripped off his nose in a vicious mauling[/caption]

SWNSSkin from his forehead had to be used during the reconstructive surgeries which followed the attack five years ago[/caption]

SWNSThe aerospace engineer was left heartbroken by the extent of his injuries[/caption]

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 hasn’t managed to call an ambulance.

“I didn’t see how I could live with what happened.”

MAJOR SURGERIES

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

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 to his neck.

SWNSSurgeons took skin from his forearm to rebuild his nose[/caption]

SWNSDuring a ten-hour emergency operation, surgeons attempted to piece anything they could back together[/caption]

SWNSSurgeons took bones from his ribs and an artery from his forearm to connect this to his neck[/caption]

Ben said: “I found it very difficult.

“I always tried to keeping looking forward.

“Having a tattooed chunk on my face that I had to put make-up on every day.”

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.

Ben said: “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.

‘YOU WANT TO HIDE’

Ben’s surgeon decided to go private mid-way through his surgeries but Exeter plastics team were able to step in.

They completed 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 has since been completing operations to work on the structure of his nose.

Ben 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.

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Ben 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.”

SWNSBen still needs plastic tubes to help him breathe[/caption]

SWNSHe is now finally starting to accept his new appearance but has struggled with stares[/caption]

Ben who had Henry for 10 years before the accident said the dog has been rehomed after an assessment and is happy in his new family.

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.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain, causing repeated seizures

Anyone can have a one-off seizure, but it doesn’t always mean they have epilepsy.

People are usually only diagnosed with epilepsy if their doctor thinks there’s a high chance they could have more seizures

The condition affects around 630,000 people in the UK.

Epilepsy can start at any age and there are many different types

Some types last for a limited time, but for many people, epilepsy can be a life-long condition.

What causes epilepsy?

Possible causes of epilepsy include:

Brain damage, for example damage caused by a stroke, head injury or infection
Brain tumours
The way the brain developed in the womb
Changes in a person’s genes

But in over one third of all people with epilepsy, doctors don’t know the cause.

How is it treated?

The main treatment for epilepsy is medicine.

These are sometimes called anti-seizure medications (ASMs) or the older term anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

The medicine doesn’t cure epilepsy, but helps to stop or reduce the number of seizures, or make them less severe.

Source: Epilepsy Action

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