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Friday, December 20, 2013 - Bosnian Patient Discharged From Broward Health Medical Center After Successful Facial Reconstruction By Bosnian War Refugee And Surgeon Zoran Potparic

Media Contacts:
Jennifer Smith
Office: (954) 355-4976
Cell: (352) 246-4497
j8smith@browardhealth.org 

Cathy Schwartz
Office: (954) 831-2752
Cell: (954) 551-6872
cmschwartz@browardhealth.org

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Broward Health plastic surgeon Dr. Zoran Potparic, a Bosnian War refugee, performed an almost six-hour partial facial reconstruction on Vildana Briga, 32, of Sarajevo, on Dec. 17 at Broward Health Medical Center. Yesterday, Dec. 19, at 4:45 p.m., Briga was discharged.

“Vildana’s surgery went very well,” Dr. Potparic said late Tuesday night. “We were able to shave off a small section of her skull and mold it into a new orbit and forehead. While Vildana is swollen and tired, she is recovering nicely.”

Briga, with her sister Amila Briga by her side, left the hospital in great spirits on Thursday afternoon. With a huge smile on her face and a few tears of relief, Briga said, “I am pleasantly surprised. I already see a difference in my appearance. I can clearly see improvement. I’m sure it will be even better when the swelling goes down.”

Briga, of Sarajevo, suffered life threatening injuries at the age of 11 in August 1992 when a bomb exploded in her front yard, killing her 17-month-old brother and grandmother. In the past 20 years, Briga has had more than 20 surgeries, many to her extremities and face.

When the bomb exploded, Briga suffered a head injury. Part of her skull was blown away, exposing her brain and causing forehead and orbital damage. A few days later she lost her right eye. She was evacuated to France where additional surgeries covered the wound, but left deformities.

Years later, Briga learned of Dr. Potparic through a family friend, who was familiar with his work with other patients like Briga. She emailed him asking for advice, and he responded that he thought he could be of assistance. This was wonderful news for Briga, who just a few years before had been told by other surgeons that nothing could be done for her face.

Due to her rapid recovery, Dr. Potparic is considering an additional surgery on Briga’s legs to remove scar tissue—also a war injury—before she flies home to Sarajevo on Dec. 31.

Briga is expected to have a follow-up soft tissue surgery on her face at Broward Health Medical Center in June 2014.

Additional information, including images, b-roll and medical scans, is available at BrowardHealth.org/Briga.

Broward Health, providing service for more than 75 years, is a nationally recognized system in South Florida that offers world-class healthcare to all. Broward Health includes Broward Health Medical Center, Broward Health North, Broward Health Imperial Point, Broward Health Coral Springs, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston, Broward Health Community Health Services, Broward Health Physician Group, Broward Health International, Broward Health Urgent Care and Broward Health Foundation. For more information, visit BrowardHealth.org.