Brooklinn Khoury's Health Journey — from Pitbull Attack to Final Surgery
Brooklinn Khoury’s shared every step of her recovery following a brutal 2020 pitbull attack
Model and skateboarder Brooklinn Khoury's career was just starting to take off when her life changed forever after a pitbull attack on Nov. 3, 2020.
The dog bit off her upper lip and part of her nose, severely changing her appearance and creating a long road to recovery. Khoury, 23, shared her journey on social media, and has documented all of her reconstructive surgeries performed by Dr. Nicholas Do.
"When I got into the attack it was so hard to see what the future held for me," she wrote in December 2022. "Thank God for giving me the strength, and the people I have in my life to help me grow, and continue to trust the process."
Her latest reconstructive procedure took place in February 2023, and in March, she opened up about how the experience changed the way she sees the world.
"It shifts my perspective on how precious life is, and also time," she wrote on Instagram. "Timing is so unpredictable, but it's also so divine… I have learned so much about life, and finding happiness through this whole journey. Whatever you are going through, it will get better."
Throughout the process, Khoury has learned a lot about herself, inspired others, and found love with Dance Moms alum Chloé Lukasiak. Here's a full timeline of Brooklinn Khoury's recovery journey following the dog attack.
Nov. 3, 2020: Brooklinn Khoury is attacked by her cousin's dog
The shocking attack happened during a trip to visit her cousin in Gilbert, Arizona. The girls were having a great time hanging out by the pool, getting manicures and running errands. They were at her cousin's home and the family dog — an 8-year-old blue nose pitbull named Diesel — snapped when she went to pet him.
"I was like, 'You're such a good boy.' He literally sprung from a sitting position like onto my face," she recalled to PEOPLE in December 2021. "And he was literally, hanging — literally like arms, legs hanging off of my lip. And my first instinct was like, 'Oh my God, get on the ground with him, hold his head, go wherever he goes.' Finally, I felt a release. And then, something flew and hit the wall."
What she saw next was "blood, everywhere" and a pink lump on the floor, which turned out to be her lip. They immediately rushed to the emergency room, but they were unable to reattach her lip.
"The first time seeing my face after the surgery was scary," she said, as she no longer had an upper lip or the tip of her nose. "But I was like, 'Okay, time to love this new version of myself for now.' "
In January 2023, Khoury shared a gruesome censored image of herself immediately after the attack, before her first emergency surgery. She said she had pulled her phone out just to see what she looked like, and "didn't know" her phone took a picture until later.
"I knew it was bad but I didn't know how bad it was," she said. "It's crazy because this photo has helped my doctor tremendously because he was able to see the original bite marks from the attack and kind of map out what happened."
October 2021: Brooklinn Khoury confirms she's dating Chloé Lukasiak amid her recovery
Khoury and Lukasiak sparked romance rumors when the skater posted a sweet photo walking hand-in-hand with the reality star and captioned it "My favorite human" on Oct. 7, 2021. A few days later, PEOPLE confirmed that they were in a relationship.
Their love has only grown since. In December 2021, Khoury revealed that they met just days before she was mauled, and had enjoyed a date grabbing coffee and carving pumpkins. "I just fell so hard," Khoury told PEOPLE "I was like, "What if she doesn't think I'm pretty anymore?'... [But] she's the best."
Lukasiak shared that the relationship had been going on "for quite a while" and their families knew about it long before the public did. "To take away that last layer hiding was so freeing," she told PEOPLE about posting the photo together. "This is how I feel comfortable. This is how I'm going to do it. You can take it or leave it. I don't really think people owe the world an explanation anymore. It was more just a decision I made for myself."
The pair has since posted many more photos and TikToks together, and adopted a kitten named Lady.
Nov. 3, 2021: Brooklinn Khoury marks the 1-year anniversary of her attack with Chloé Lukasiak
One year after the horrifying ordeal, Khoury took to Instagram to reflect on what she'd been through. "This attack has taught me to truly love myself inside and out regardless of what people have to say," she wrote. "It has shown me how precious life is. I will never take that for granted."
To bring some joy to the painful day, Lukasiak planned a beautiful beach picnic for her girlfriend. "I wanted to celebrate her in a way she would love so I invited everyone she loves most & threw her a surprise picnic on the beach," she shared, also calling Khoury "the most incredible human" she's ever met.
Khoury was touched by the gesture. "[Chloé] took the time to put together something so special for me on the day that hurt me the most," she wrote on Instagram. "I can't even begin to describe what this meant to me, and how much you mean to me. There are no words to describe Y O U. Happy smile day."
Nov 13, 2021: Brooklinn Khoury reveals plans to start surgery to repair the damage
Just a few days after the one-year anniversary of the attack, Khoury revealed she had found a doctor, Dr. Do, who could reconstruct her face and planned to begin undergoing surgery. While she was excited, she did have some concerns.
"I have really mixed feelings about it," she said in a YouTube video about the upcoming procedures. "I'm excited to get surgery to begin to heal again and work with this doctor. I'm also really sad to kind of stop my life again and have to go through the healing process."
Khoury added that because she's a very active person who loves skating, surfing and hiking — and wouldn't be able to do those things while recovering — that she might end up "in a bad head space." She also mentioned she wouldn't be able to move her mouth following the operation and would require a feeding tube.
December 2021: Brooklinn Khoury gets her first reconstructive surgery
On Dec. 17, 2021, Khoury shared a video one week after her first surgery. At the time, doctors took a skin graft from her left arm to build a new upper lip for her. The surgery was a success, but the appearance was shocking.
"I have a lot of people not to post my face right now because of the way that it looks," she said in the video, showing off her stitches and bruised eyes. "But I am not going to hide the process because if someone is watching this video and they're going through the same thing, they're going to be able to relate and be able to feel not alone, so I'm going to share."
She explained more about what happened during the surgery in October 2022. "My skin was taken from the inside of my forearm, to provide a foundation for my upper lip," she shared on Instagram. "Yes it absolutely does grow hair, but the reason we used it from there was because it is the thinnest, and softest skin. My doctor then used skin from my upper arm to cover the skin he had taken from my wrist. All grafts heal differently and all scars scar beautifully."
March 2022: Brooklinn Khoury gets her second surgery to open up one of her nostrils
In a video posted in February 2022, Khoury shared her plans and concerns for a second surgery. "I'm not going to lie, I'm definitely scared for the next portion of the surgery," she said. "Although I love myself and I learned to love myself in all situations, I'm definitely more scared of this next surgery altering my face more than the initial attack did … but I trust my doctor. I know everything is going to happen for the best."
She got the second surgery in March 2022, and the intention was to open up her left nostril more so she could breathe better. "I'm super happy with the results," she said in another video following the procedure. "I can already breathe so much better so I'm super thankful."
April 2022: Brooklinn Khoury's third surgery is a rhinoplasty rebuild
In a video posted on April 19, 2022, Khoury detailed her third surgery: a rhinoplasty to "fix the point" of her nose and thin out her new upper lip.
"To do that, they have to take a deep part of my septum to build the nose tip," she explained. "But I'm going to be very bloody, very stitched up, and I just got the stitches out of my nose so I'm a little bit, like, annoyed. But that's okay, cause we're getting it done!"
Khoury was "so happy" with the results, which she revealed in the same video. "Look at my nose!" she said. "It's just so cool to see myself again. The surgery hurts so bad but it's so worth it."
September 2022: Khoury undergoes lip reconstruction for her fourth surgery
Khoury chatted with Dr. Do in a June 2022 video about her upcoming fourth surgery. The doctor said he planned to thin out the larger scar on the right side of Khoury's mouth while removing fat from either side of her upper lip so it would sit a bit flatter.
She said she was "very excited to be having this break [in operations] and just being able to enjoy the summer and going to travel without being worried that I'm going to interrupt any part of the healing process."
The surgery finally happened in September and it went off without a hitch. "I'm happy everything is well," said Khoury in a follow-up video.
Jan. 6, 2023: Brooklinn Khoury opens up about her new smile
With her signature positive attitude, Khoury addressed TikTok followers' comments that she no longer smiled with her teeth.
"I know that when I smile now it's different from how I smiled before," she said in the video. "Before I had a lot of teeth show, now I just feel comfortable smiling without it because my lip is still so long."
"But with this next surgery, my doctor is going to be lifting this up and I definitely think after that, I'm going to be showing my teeth a lot more," she added.
February 2023: Brooklinn Khoury gets final surgery to recreate her Cupid's bow
"Basically, my doctor is recreating the top lip in this surgery — creating a Cupid's bow and central columns. So kind of making my lip look more aesthetic," Khoury told PEOPLE ahead of her final reconstructive surgery in February 2023.
In a video posted on Feb. 16, 2023, Khoury detailed the operation, which took five-and-a-half hours. "The surgery yesterday went really well," she wrote in the caption. "My surgeon was able to accomplish what he planned to do… He recreated the central columns, the lip and the Cupid's bow. I'm very swollen right now, but once the swelling goes down it will look amazing."
A couple of weeks after the surgery, she was even more thrilled with the outcome. "Today you can definitely see more definition of the lip," she said. "Although it is still very swollen, I do see the central columns forming and that dimple as well. Also what my doctor did was raise the lip so I have more teeth show."
March 5, 2023: Brooklinn Khoury reveals plans to tattoo her upper lip
In the caption of a new video trying on lipstick, Khoury said that she plans to get her upper lip tattooed so it would match the color of her lower lip when she wasn't wearing makeup. "Getting my lip tattooed will be one of the last steps," she wrote. "It's definitely going to take some getting used to, but I am so excited for it."
The same day on TikTok, Khoury's girlfriend joked that she's going to do the ink herself. "I'm doing it," Lukasiak quipped. "I'm going to take a little tiny baby needle [and do it]."
March 8, 2023: Brooklinn Khoury is finally given the go-ahead to start skating again
Less than two months after her final surgery, Khoury was finally cleared to start participating in sports again.
"My stitches have been on my face for three weeks. Starting to get kinda itchy," she revealed before they were removed. "And they feel like whiskers, so I'm excited to get them out."
March 13, 2023: Brooklinn Khoury opens up about being insecure about a pimple on her lip the day it was ripped off
Khoury gave her fans a dose of perspective on March 13, 2023, when she shared a story about being embarrassed by a pimple on her lip the day it was ripped off in the attack.
"I had a pimple right here," she said on TikTok, pointing to her lip. "I was so insecure about it that I actually cropped it out in a picture I sent to my friend. 15 minutes later my lip was fully gone."
"It is crazy how insecure we are over little things," she added. "This is a reminder that you are beautiful!"
March 2023: Brooklinn Khoury is featured in Vogue Arabia
One of Khoury's modeling dreams came true when she was featured in Vogue Arabia in March 2023. She shared three photos from the shoot on her Instagram, and she simply captioned the post: "Honored."
"Jaw is on the floor," Lukasiak commented on the high-fashion shots, while her mom also chimed in with "YOU ARE AN ICON 👏👏👏"
March 27, 2023: Brooklinn Khoury shuts down idea that Chloé Lukasiak was going to leave her after dog attack
In a TikTok video set to a trending sound titled "MMM MMM," Khoury seemingly told her followers that Lukasiak has always had her back.
The couple confirmed that they met a mere five days before Khoury was attacked by her cousin's dog. And the pro skater shook her head at the idea that she was worried Lukasiak would leave her after the traumatic incident.
April 7, 2023: Brooklinn Khoury says her doctor wants to perform one last reconstructive surgery
On TikTok, Khoury shared that her plastic surgeon "didn't get the results he wanted," during her lip reconstruction surgery in February 2023.
"My surgeon is trying to get my upper lip as close to how it was before," Khoury said, confirming that she'll have one additional surgery. "If you look at my upper lip from straight on, it slants a little bit. That's because the pitbull took more from this side than this."
The pro skater continued: "He's gonna want to also pin down the central column to create a more in-depth look. Other than that, I'm obsessed with how it's turning out."
May 15, 2023: Brooklinn Khoury shares that she can't move her upper lip
Khoury will likely never regain movement in her upper lip. In a TikTok video, Khoury showed her followers that drinking from a can is basically an impossible task.
"It's starting to really annoy me. I cannot drink out of a can without it spilling out of my mouth," she said. "This is why I use straws."
In an earlier video, Khoury also shared that she has to shave her upper lip frequently.
"For those of you who don't know, the skin you're seeing here is taken from the inner side of my arm. So yes, I do grow a lot of hair on this upper lip," she said.
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