Loose Women panellist Katie Piper has revealed how surgeons reconstructed her face after she was the victim of a horrific acid attack in 2008, aged just 24
Katie Piper OBE explained that her “face is made out of a cow” as she opened up about her NHS surgeons’ pioneering work.
The Loose Women panelist, 38, had to have her face rebuilt after she was attacked with acid by her ex-boyfriend, which caused major damage to her face and blindness in one eye.
The mum-of-two revealed the intricate process behind her 400 surgeries to Lorraine Kelly and her daughter, Rosie, on their What if? Podcast.
Katie explained: “Because it’s a corrosive substance, you think with fire you can put it out and maybe minimise the damage, but with me all four layers of the skin were destroyed.
“The subcutaneous layer, which is the fatty layer, was also destroyed.
“My burn went through the muscle and down to the skeleton, so it was a very, very deep burn.”
Opening up about the “pioneering procedure” which restored her features, the star explained: “What I had to do was have all of my old face removed because the tissue was dead and would have gotten infected.
“They had to start from the beginning with a man-made dermal substitute. I always think of the analogy of a house, when you get the foundations before you get the bricks and the scaffolding.
Dave Benett/Getty Images)
“This foundation is made from collagen and elastin taken from a cow. Queue all the moody cow jokes! My face is made out of a cow,” she laughed.
Describing the process in more detail, Katie explained that surgeons shaved her head and took a skin graft from her mid-back all the way down past her bum.
She said surgeons then sewed the “sheet of skin” on top of her head and past her chest, covering the area which had been burned by the acid.
The role model joked that following her following her skin graft she realised ‘just how hairy her bum was’.
Katie teased she now has to get her face threaded to prevent looking like a“fuzzy peach”.
The model’s whole face was reconstructed, with many of her features being rebuilt using other parts of her body.
With candid honesty, Katie explained that her nose is made from her upper-right rib, her eyelids grafted from her groin and cheeks, and she has had hair transplants to form her eyebrows.
The star, who was awarded an OBE in February, praised the NHS for their “amazing” work.
Katie was given an OBE for her services to charity and victims of disfigurement injuries through her work with the Katie Piper Foundation.
As she received the award from Princess Anne at Windsor Castle, the presenter described the moment as “one of the happiest times” of her life.
Katie: “Trauma is part of life but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. This is a very special time for my family, my teammates, all survivors of burns and me.
“This OBE is for all of us.”