A Ukrainian pensioner suffered a severe cranial injury when he got kicked by a horse. The horse hit the 56-year-old man in his left temple. Ivan Bilokhvost managed to return home, where he lost his consciousness. His wife called an ambulance, and the man was taken to a district hospital, from where he was sent to the Kiev Regional Hospital.
An X-ray image showed that the man had a large cranial blood tumor that was pressing on the left hemisphere of his brain. To remove the tumor, doctors had to remove the temporal bone of the skull first. They needed to preserve the bone and plant it back on its place.
Aleksei Kuprii, a neurosurgeon of the hospital, decided to temporarily place the bone in the soft tissue of the patient’s right thigh. When the blood tumor is removed, the temporal bone would be taken out of the thigh to be placed back on the skull.
Doctors performed several unique operations on Ivan Bilokhvost. They removed the temporal bone, the blood tumor and implanted the bone in his leg.
“We did the craniotomy, removed the tumor, and the patient had to rehabilitate during the next 1.5 months afterwards. We used a special technique to implant the temporal bone in the soft tissue of his thigh. We did that to preserve the bone and avoid the use of an artificial implant,” Aleksei Kuprii said.
“The first thing that I saw when I woke up was a hospital room. My head was exploding with pain. My wife Ekaterina was sitting there beside me crying. I spent several days lying on the hospital bed. When I was discharged from hospital, the doctors told me not to do any physical exercises, not to smoke and to take care of myself. I could feel the temporal bone in my leg – it’s a big bone,” he said.
When the man saw himself in the mirror for the first time after the operation, he was horrified to see that one-third of his head had been gone.
“When they were removing the seams I could feel the brain against the thin stretched skin, I could even touch it with my fingers. I was not afraid of injuring my brain through my skin. I had been through three major operations and thought that my life was over,” the man said.
The doctors were preparing Ivan for the next operation 45 days later.
“The doctors told me that my head would look the same like before. I did not believe them at first. I thought that I would remain a disabled person for the rest of my life. When I recovered after the operation, I touched the place of the wound. The head was completely reconstructed! Me and my wife are so thankful, I will always remember my doctor, Aleksey Kuprii, who allowed me to come back into this world,” Ivan Bilokhvost said.
“My husband quit smoking and started spending more of his time with me and our children. He has a new approach to life now,” the man’s wife said.
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