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Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Bear-attack survivor receives state-of-the-art
facial reconstruction

Grizzly bear (stock photo)

Nic Patrick was out for a walk in a meadow near his ranch in Wyoming when he rounded a hill and found himself face to face with a female grizzly bear. The bear, fearful for the safety of the two cubs that were with her, attacked Patrick directly in the face. The struggle was brief and one-sided, leaving Patrick alive but missing his nose and most of his right cheek.

Patrick was first treated at a nearby hospital in Cody, Wyoming, then airlifted to the University of Colorado Hospital, where Dr. Frederic Deleyiannis took on the daunting task of reconstructing Patrick's ravaged face.

The challenge facing Dr. Deleyiannis and his team was a serious one: Patrick's entire nose and most of his right cheek were completely gone, leaving little to build on. To solve this problem, Dr. Deleyiannis worked out a plan to transfer tissue and blood vessels from Patrick's back to his face. A prosthetic nose and eight additional procedures were needed to give Patrick the most natural appearance possible.

Remarkably, Patrick says he feels no bitterness toward the bear that attacked him. A longtime conservationist, he continues to advocate for the protection and preservation of the grizzly bear in Wyoming. Rather than dwelling on his misfortune, he says, he has chosen to focus on gratitude to Dr. Delyiannis and his surgical team, who gave him the chance to go on with his life.

Read the full story in UCH Insider.

(April 2015)

Dr. Tae Chong joins P & R Faculty

Dr. Tae ChongThe Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is pleased to introduce our newest faculty member, Dr. Tae Chong.

Dr. Tae Chong is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Colorado, Dr. Chong was the director of reconstructive surgery at Parkland Hospital and was the associate program director at the University of Texas Southwestern (Dallas). There he taught the latest techniques in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. His focus on both the functional and aesthetic restoration of the patient is tailored for each individual.

Dr. Chong trained in general surgery at the University of Virginia and continued his plastic surgery training at the University of Pittsburgh. He continues to be involved in basic science and clinical research in cosmetic surgery, cancer reconstruction, wound healing, and transplantation.

(March 2015)

More stories

For more news stories, visit the Department of Surgery's News Archive. To see only stories from the Plastic and Reconstructive Division, follow this link.