Teenager has jaw re-built after shocking Derbyshire horse riding accident

Emily Eccles.
Emily Eccles.

A surgeon who operated on a teenage girl after she split her jaw into two during a horse riding accident has said it is the worst he has seen 'outside areas of conflict'.

Emily Eccles, 15, was out riding in August this year when her horse became spooked by a car and she hit her head on a wooden post.

She went to Sheffield Children's Hospital with just one centimetre of skin keeping her jaw attached and she was in need of emergency surgery.

Her injury was so bad that her surgeon said it was the worst he had ever seen which had been suffered outside of a war zone.

As part of the surgery, titanium plates were fitted into Emily’s face. She still has scarring, but this will fade in time.

Mr Mohammed-Ali, who works at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said: “Emily’s injury was significant in that the entire left side of her lower jaw from the front of the jaw to the joint was pulled away from the face and only retained by a small strip of skin.

"The nerves that supply sensation to the lip and chin was torn on both sides. Branches of the facial nerve that move the muscles of the lower lip were severed on both sides. The lower part of Emily’s face was only attached by a piece of skin.

“It could have been worse, but it is one of the most significant injuries that I have seen in a child outside of areas of conflict.”

After nearly five hours of surgery and after care at the hospital, Emily is making a good recovery although she will be under the care of Sheffield Children’s for a long time.

Emily, from Sheffield, who is calling for Mr Mohammed-Ali a knighthood, said: “We’d been riding for a while when we came up to a gate onto the road. Then a car came round the corner and my horse started to gallop.

“We went round one corner to the left and I leant into it, then another to the right and this time, as I leant to that side, a wooden post smashed into the right side of my jaw. I think I was in so much shock that I didn’t feel much pain.”

Mr Mohammed-Ali added: “Emily will remain under my care for a long time. I will monitor the healing and growth of the lower jaw and treat accordingly. The scar will mature over 12 to 18 months and I will treat it depending on the appearance as it matures. I am extremely pleased with her recovery so far.”