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SCALP IS REATTACHED WITH HELP OF LEECHES

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Doctors combined microsurgery and leeches to reattach the skin and hair of a woman who was scalped from her eyelids to the back of her neck by an industrial blender.

The accident at a packaging company threatened to leave 30-year-old Patsy Bogle disfigured. But doctors who performed the rare operation said Friday she would recover with few or no visible signs of her injury.Bogle, an employee at Ross Technical Associates of Monrovia, 20 miles east of Los Angeles, said she was cleaning the blades of an industrial blender on Tuesday when the machine caught her ponytail.

She felt her head smash into the machine. In an instant, her scalp was torn off from her eyelids to the back of her neck, including two-thirds of her right ear.

"I just remember hitting my head," she told the Los Angeles Times from her hospital bed. "I yelled at my boss, `Help me, help me!'. . . . I was afraid I was going to die."

Bogle would probably have survived, doctors said, but would have needed extensive skin grafts and would never have looked the same. She would have had to wear a wig for the rest of her life.

"It's not like if you lose a finger or thumb," Dr. John Gross said. "Those can be replaced, or you have other fingers to use."

Fortunately, her scalp came off in one piece. Paramedics removed it from the machine and packed it on ice to keep the tissue alive. Bogle was sent to specialists at the USC University Hospital and was operated on five hours after the accident.

During the five-hour operation, Gross and Dr. Bala Chandrasekhar reattached veins, muscle, cartilage and skin, including the ear. Sterile medicinal leeches were placed on the ear and scalp to suck away blood until veins can heal and begin pumping naturally.