Specialist surgeons at St George’s Hospital have rebuilt the face of a junior doctor after it was ‘crushed backwards’ in a horse riding accident last year.

Dr Elizabeth Calton, 38, had 41 screws and 11 plates inserted into her face in a gruelling 10-hour operation by nine surgeons and theatre staff following the incident last October.

Images provided by her family before the accident helped painstakingly recapture her original bone structure, including the smallest individual asymmetries.

She said: “The impact basically crushed the middle of my face backwards. I was incredibly lucky – both to have been discovered by passers-by, but also to be brought to St George’s, which has so many specialists in one place.

“I had panda eye bruising and my face was so swollen I was hardly recognisable – so to be back on my feet now, looking back to how I was, is amazing. I am grateful to everyone who looked after me – so many people were involved in my care.”

Dr Calton’s injuries included multiple facial fractures, including both cheek bones, her eye sockets, nose and upper jaw, which had fractured in two under the weight of the horse’s hoof.

The trained paediatric registrar had to quickly dismount from her horse, Barney, after he became frightened by a noise in the woods.

Unfortunately she was trampled across her chest, which also broke nine of her ribs, as well as the middle of her face.

Horrified passers-by called an ambulance before she was rushed to the major trauma centre at St George’s before undergoing surgery eight days later.

Consultant maxillofacial surgeon Dr Nick Hyde, who led the operation, said: “Multiple injuries to the face such as this are rare, and the surgery Elizabeth required was complex and labour-intensive. However, the end result is very pleasing, and a credit to the many different people involved in her care.

“The maxillofacial surgery we carried out was only possible thanks to the work of the ambulance team who transferred her, as well as our emergency department, cardiothoracic surgical colleagues, anaesthetists and nursing and allied healthcare clinicians who were critical to her recovery at St George’s.

“It was a real team effort.”

Now the PhD student has recovered and plans to continue her studies in becoming a paediatric oncologist.