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California man who shattered EVERY bone in his face after falling from three-story balcony

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A man had to undergo facial reconstruction after falling from a three-story building and breaking every bone in his face.

Justin Starks, 24, collapsed about 30 feet from the balcony of his apartment in Stanford, California, last November.

He landed directly on his chin, split his jaw in half on impact and shattered all 14 bones in his face.

The software engineer had to undergo two grueling surgeries, the first of which involved holding his face together with 90 screws.

A second procedure involved “peeling” his skin and rebuilding the bones in his face, as well as closing his jaw to give them time to heal.

He has lost nearly 30 pounds in the past six months because he lived on a mostly liquid diet to avoid chewing.

Miraculously, Mr. Starks suffered no damage to his skull or brain, which he believes is due to his face being the victim of the fall.

After breaking all 14 bones in his face

Justin Starks (before and after the fall), 24, collapsed about 30 feet from the balcony of his apartment in Stanford, California last November

He landed directly on his chin, split his jaw in half on impact and shattered all 14 bones in his face.  The software engineer has had to undergo two grueling surgeries, the first of which involved

He landed directly on his chin, split his jaw in half on impact and shattered all 14 bones in his face. The software engineer has had to undergo two grueling surgeries, the first of which involved “peeling” his skin and rebuilding the bones in his face (shown after that surgery).

On the road to recovery: pictured right after his reconstruction surgery in January (left) and in May (right) six months after the accident

On the road to recovery: pictured right after his reconstruction surgery in January (left) and in May (right) six months after the accident

Mr Starks said he cannot remember what he was doing on the fall day of November 31. The last thing he remembers was waking up in the ICU.

He said, “While I don’t remember the impact, I do know that I landed on my chin.

“I know because my chin split open and reverberated through the rest of my face and literally broke every bone in my face; my jaw on both sides, my nose bone.

“The doctors were shocked to see the damage to my face, but especially the fact that I had no skull fractures at all.”

He added: “The last thing I remembered was on my balcony, I don’t remember falling, I don’t remember hitting the ground.

“A lot of people say to me ‘oh my god, that must be the most painful experience you can imagine’, but I just don’t remember.

Mr. Starks broke all 14 facial bones, including his cheeks, nose, eye sockets and upper jaw.

He was kept in the hospital for two weeks, where doctors inserted more than 90 screws to hold his fragile bones together.

Doctors also fused his jaws back together, which meant initially putting him on a liquid diet, which was basically “broth and water,” he said.

Mr. Starks gradually switched to soft hearty meals like porridge that he doesn’t have to ‘chew’. He lost about two and a half stone (13.6 kg) during this time.

A month later, in January this year, Mr. Starks went under the knife for the second time on Martin Luther King Day.

Doctors used 3D printing technology to reconstruct his face.

They took a scan of Mr. Starks’ face and used the virtual model to print titanium implants that fit exactly.

Mr. Starks had to see a psychiatrist for problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder.  After the second facial reconstruction, his face started to swell on the left side.  He said the bout of facial swelling he endured caused some insecurities with the way he looked

Mr. Starks had to see a psychiatrist for problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder. After the second facial reconstruction, his face started to swell on the left side. He said the bout of facial swelling he endured caused some insecurities with the way he looked

The procedure involved cutting him into the top of his head from ear to ear so they could peel off his face and “put him back together,” as he puts it.

Mr Starks was in intensive care for three days after surgery and the progress he had made up to that point was reversed.

He said he gained some strength between the first and second surgery, even walking five miles and talking with his mouth shut.

After the second surgery, his strength had diminished and he felt “generally weak” as he had to be carried upstairs by his father and brother.

In February, he started most of his recovery and regained the strength he had lost and started training again at the gym.

In May, he said the swelling had subsided greatly and the facial reconstruction “looked pretty good,” and he was able to go back to work.

His injury not only came with the physical damage but also brought some mental health issues with it.

Mr. Starks had to see a psychiatrist for problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

After the second facial reconstruction, his face started to swell on the left side.

He said the bout of facial swelling he endured caused some insecurities with the way he looked.

He said: ‘I used to think of myself as a pretty attractive man and when I went out and looked in a mirror I saw that my face was puffy and puffy and not what I wanted it to be.

“I had some insecurities about that.”

But despite his insecurities, Mr. Starks said he’d seen improvements each week compared to the previous week, saying, “I think I look pretty good overall.”

The entire facial reconstruction surgery takes about a year to complete and recover properly.

Starks will have another surgery that will address problems with his palate and his teeth.

Once the third and final surgery is complete, he said he will be on his way to feeling “one hundred percent normal.”

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