XI'AN, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- A six-year-old boy in northwest China is made of strong stuff. Inside his small face is a titanium mask, holding together tiny broken facial bones.
The boy received a face repair operation carried out on Monday at the Xijing Hospital in northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The boy, whose name is Bowen, is now under observation in the hospital's ICU and may receive more facial repairs.
Doctors started by building a mesh plate to support the boy's features after his face was crushed into hundreds of fragments in a car accident.
Shu Maoguo, the chief surgeon, said that before the surgery, the boy couldn't breathe or smell, his eye sockets couldn't support his eyes and his jaw was out of place.
Doctors then designed a titanium mask, not unlike Batman's mask, to match his features and inserted it beneath the skin.
Shu and his team painstakingly cleaned the boy's tiny splintered bones before repositioning the jaw, holding it in place with a titanium slate and clamp plate. The clamp plate will allow him to chew his food, Shu said.
Next, they rebuilt the lower eye sockets, the bridge of the nose and premaxillary bone, which is part of the jaw, by attaching the titanium mask.
After a marathon seven-hour operation, surgeons declared it a "success."
Doctors said they hope the operation will restore the appearance that the boy had before the accident.
He is expected to be released from the hospital in ten days to rejoin his family. Shu said he may offer some more repairs in light with his recovery situation.
In 2006, doctors at the same hospital helped rebuild the face of a 30-year-old man who was mauled by a bear.
(To watch the video of this story, please visit China View on Youtube: http://xhne.ws/0pNDL)