A man who was mauled by a grizzly bear in Wyoming and lost much of his face had a pioneering surgery that restored his nose and lip.
Lee Brooke decided to go on a hunting trip in Wyoming, and so far it was going well. He’d nabbed an elk, and began walking toward his kill. But as he approached the elk, he discovered that a grizzly bear had claimed it, and as he turned around to leave, the bear was suddenly on top of him.
Brooke, 60, woke up to have the grizzly bear towering over him, with his nose and upper lip lying next to him. He was covered in blood, but managed to grab a knife to send the bear fleeing. He could have bled to death right then and there, but today, he’s had his face rebuilt thanks to pioneering new surgery.
Brooke was discovered by his brother-in-law, who put his nose and lip in Brooke’s pocket and called 911. Brooke survived the ordeal, and doctors immediately went to work trying to restore his face. Brooke has gone through months of reconstructive surgery at the Swedish Medical Center’s Burn and Reconstructive Unit in Colorado, as Dr. Benson Pulikkottil and Dr Lily Daniali worked to restore his face.
They removed a fibula and some skin on his leg to rebuild his nose, and today, while he may not look exactly like he did before, he now has a complete face once again.
“They were so confident and compassionate and communicated really well back and forth,” said Brooke, according to a Telegraph report. “Everybody was phenomenal. They built me up and never let me down. They’re the best of the best.”