CPMC performs rare scalp, forehead reattachment


Sonya Dominguez was working on a rewinder machine at her workplace in Stockton when her hair got caught. Doctors wasted no time in getting her to San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). That was crucial.

Sonya's doctors at CPMC have a lot to tell. Less than two weeks ago, she was flown in. Surgeons had only a few hours to reattach her forehead and scalp. Sonya's hair got caught in a machine while she was working at at warehouse in Stockton. "Walking in that warehouse without a scalp, without her hair," her father recalled.

Within hours, Sonya was in the operating room. "Some people think we just sort of put the scalp back on and stitch it back together, but the scalp would never live because it's lost all of its blood supply," surgeon Brian Parrett explained. Surgeons used a technique called microsurgery. In order to save the scalp, they had to repair and connect six blood vessels with the help of a microscope. Each vessel is the size of the lead piece inside a mechanical pencil.

"For having an entire scalp and forehead, it's extremely rare. There's probably a couple dozen reported cases in the world," surgeon Gregory Buncke said. The first was performed by his father Dr. Harry Buncke in 1976. "Without them, I wouldn't probably have any hair or probably, not even be here. So, it's real good the doctors took care of me in the way they did," Sonya said.

The company where the accident occurred is called Mepco Label Systems out of Stockton. It may take up to six months for Cal-OSHA to finish its investigation. They say the company has never been cited before.

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