The Year’s Best “Nose Job”: Injured California Sea Lion Gets Plastic Surgery


Here is a story that is a little off the beaten path for most plastic surgeons. And, it involves extending what we do as plastic surgeons on a daily basis to other species when we team up with veterinarians.

A Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Praful Ramineni, MD, helped a group of marine veterinarians to treat an injured California sea lion. The sea lion, “Sgt. Nevis”, had been shot in the nose by an angry fisherman for eating his fish. Because of his wounds, Sgt. Nevis was unable to survive in the wild. Sgt. Nevis had a hole in this nose that would allow water to get in, making it very difficult or nearly impossible for the sea lion to dive. And while this may be no big deal for you and me, it was — as they say– life changing for Sgt. Nevis.

Dr. Ramineni adapted techniques of repairing wounds and moving soft tissues from one area to another to take care of these problems. And while the patient was a bit different from most of his others, the principles of soft tissue repair and movement were not. As a plastic surgeon it is really refreshing to get to do something like this.

I have had to pleasure to consult with Dr. D.J. Krahwinkel at the UT Vet school about repairing some tissue wounds in some of his canine patients. While I never got to operate with him, it was fun to get out and see his side of the world, surgically speaking.

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Knoxville Plastic Surgeon