Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Dreadful horse-riding accident leaves girl with split mandible

By Dental Tribune International
February 12, 2020

SHEFFIELD, UK: Earlier last year, a 15-year-old girl from Sheffield was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital emergency department after being involved in a horse-riding accident that split her mandible into two. The girl underwent a 5-hour orthognathic operation, during which a surgeon fitted three titanium plates to rebuild her face. Emily only lost one tooth in the process.

Emily had been riding for a while when her horse was frightened by the noise of a car exhaust and broke into a gallop. As she was leaning into the direction the horse was turning, she hit a wooden post that smashed into the right side of her mandible. She was reportedly in so much shock at the time of the accident that she did not even feel any pain.

Commenting on her injury, consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon at the hospital Dr Ricardo Mohammed-Ali said in a press release: “Emily’s injury was significant in that the entire left side of her lower jaw from the front of the jaw to the joint was pulled away from the face and only retained by a small strip of skin. The nerves that supply sensation to the lip and chin were torn on both sides. Branches of the facial nerve that move the muscles of the lower lip were severed on both sides.”

Emily’s parents supported her throughout the treatment process and were informed about the possible complications of the operation as well as alternative treatment options. “It is critical that the family is aware of three points: the extent of the injury, the plan for treatment and alternative options, the potential complications and treatment if these develop,” Mohammed-Ali commented.

During the operation, the surgeon placed over 160 sutures to close the wound. This has caused temporary scarring that will fade in approximately a year’s time, Mohammed-Ali stated. Emily remains under the surgeon’s care while the healing and the growth of the mandible are monitored. The operation was so successful that she was able to go back to school only one month after the accident. Emily has written to the Queen and requested her to bestow a knighthood on Mohammed-Ali in recognition of his work as a surgeon.

According to the British Orthodontic Society, an estimated 3,000 people undergo orthognathic treatment yearly.

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