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Oral/Maxillofacial Surgeon Reattaches Man's Nose

Date:  August 7th, 2009

Contact/Phone:  Mary Muhlbradt
Phone: (701)857-5116
Fax: (701)857-5683

e-mail:   Mary Muhlbradt

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(MINOT, ND)—This barbecue season when the aroma of sizzling steak is wafting through the air, Louis Schafer of Minot may be tempted to lift a glass in a toast to Trinity oral/maxillofacial surgeon Juan Ulloa, DDS.

Dr. Ulloa reattached Schafer's nose after the motorcyclist crashed his bike into a pickup truck April 25 in the parking lot of a local motel. “I really don't remember much except waking up in Intensive Care,” Schafer said.

According to Dr. Ulloa, Schafer was brought to Trinity's Emergency/Trauma Center with avulsion trauma - injuries in which entire areas of the skin or body are torn away.

“I got the call around 7 p.m.,” Dr. Ulloa said. “I was informed that a gentleman was coming to the ER with multiple avulsion, including complete detachment of the nose.”

Dr. Ulloa evaluated Louis' injuries: A large area of scalp was missing from the forehead and lip areas. The nose was completely torn off. Within a half hour or so Dr. Ulloa had his patient in surgery, an operation that would last about five hours.

Addressing the forehead injury, Dr. Ulloa essentially gave Schafer a “mini-facelift,” stretching the remaining skin from either side of the forehead and stitching the sides together to cover the area where the skin was torn away. The job of reattaching the nose began with the delicate process of locating the severed ends of Schafer's nasal arteries and suturing them back together. Finally Dr. Ulloa reattached the nose tissue and splinted it to keep the bones in place.

The next 48 hours were critical. Dr. Ulloa worked closely with Trinity Hospital's nursing staff to make sure the incisions were properly dressed and that a special cream was applied as frequently as every 15 minutes.“

My major concern was to make sure there was no sign of necrosis (tissue death). I was eager to see that capillary perfusion was reestablished,” Dr. Ulloa explained, adding, “Infection is also a concern with this type of injury.”

Schafer said he learned of his ordeal from his wife, Linda, after waking up in ICU. Although still a bit disoriented, he couldn't help but wonder what kind of face he would be seeing in the mirror from that point forward. Two weeks later, when Dr. Ulloa removed his bandages, his fears were put to rest.

“I looked pretty darned good,” Schafer smiled. “Actually I can smell and breathe better than I could before the accident.”

Dr. Ulloa said Schafer's nose should be fully functional, and he expects the scars to all but disappear in another four to six weeks.

Meanwhile, Schafer has gotten religion when it comes to donning a motorcycle helmet. He says he will be wearing one from now on, mostly likely the full-face kind. SPACE index.php