Doctors rebuild man’s dented forehead using his own body fat

Eric Pfeiffer
February 29, 2012

In June 2009, Tim Barter fell 25 feet from a drainpipe, hit his head on a brick wall and was left in a coma for 10 days. When he awoke, his forehead was caved in because doctors had performed an emergency life-saving operation to repair his shattered skull, cheekbone and eye socket. But even after the surgery, he experienced double vision and other aftereffects from the incident.

"My head felt really strange. I only had skin over where the skull had been removed, so it was very soft to touch, particularly when the hair had started to grow back," Barter said in an interview with BBC Breakfast.

Less than three years later, the Telegraph reports Barter has experienced an amazing recovery after doctors performed an innovative surgery to repair his forehead using fat from his own stomach.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Bentley, a surgeon at London's King's College Hospital. The procedure involved using titanium plates to repair Barter's skull. As painful as it might sound, the plates were inserted through Barter's cheeks to avoid scarring. Fat tissue from his stomach was then injected into his forehead to fill the damaged section of his skull.

Barter had a successful life pre-accident, working on the popular "Dr. Who" program for a number of years as a visual effects supervisor. But now, Barter is embracing life like never before.

"I'm making the most of everything now where I didn't before," Barter, 32, tells the BBC. His new list of physical activities includes wall climbing, kayaking and even skydiving. "I love the falling. It's just the split second at the end that's an occasional problem," Barter joked. "I can't put anything off anymore. I'm doing what I've always put on my list," he said.

"Patients having sustained such injuries as Tim's highlight the fully integrated approach that we have as a major trauma center," Dr. Bentley told the Telegraph. "This ensures that our patients receive the best treatment in the most appropriate settings and by the most appropriate individuals."

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