An 11-year-old Mauled by a Dog is on the Slow Road to Recovery

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Jill Chadwick

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Damian Sunderland is surgeries for weeks, months and even years to reconstruct the damage done when a relative’s dog attacked the 11-year-old while at home. That, according to Brian Andrews, MD and plastic surgeon at The University of Kansas Hospital.  “Sadly, I do about two serious dog bites each year and this is about as bad as it gets,” Dr. Andrews said.

Damian recently underwent a major surgery lasting several hours to graft skin to his exposed cheeks, lower jaw, his nose and to begin the process of re-creating his lips. “We begin by recreating and rebuilding the inside tissue of the lips,” Dr. Andrews explained.  “We use skin grafts from different parts of Damian’s arms and legs to better match the natural skin tones.  We can even tattoo permanent color at some point if Damian wants it … but that is a long way down the road.”

“He was so excited to hear the nurse tell him the next morning that he was on the way to having lips again,” DeAnn Tieman, Damian’s mother said following the day long grafting procedure. “He can’t comprehend that doctors can remake his face.”

In the video below, DeAnn Tieman shares more about Damian and his recovery, what he likes to do and how he is coping following the dog attack.  Dr. Andrews explains more about Damian’s injuries, his prognosis and the emotional as well as physical challenges ahead for Damian.  Video of Damian taken during the day long skin grafting procedure is also available for media to create their own news reports.