A CLINICAL physiologist has been thanking the team who rebuilt her ribcage after she was trampled by her horse - causing nine ribs to break along with a punctured lung.

Warrington Hospital part-time employee Barbara Schofield had the pioneering surgery at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital which is one of only a handful of hospitals in the country using this latest technology where titanium plates and screws are used to help mend cracked bones.

Experienced horse rider Barbara, who lives in Northwich, suffered the injuries in September last year when she fell underneath her horse after the saddle slipped in Wirral.

‘Figaro’ - who stands at 16.2 hands (5ft 5 inch) - accidentally trampled on her leaving nine broken ribs on the left hand side broken - six with multiple fractures.

She was rushed to A&E where reconstruction work resulting in an extremely anxious six hour wait for Barbara's husband Steve.

The Synthes Matrix Rib System - developed in Switzerland - uses a series of curved titanium plates around 10-20cms long and 10mm wide. They are sculpted in a factory and fine-tuned by a surgeon to fit the contours of the patient’s ribs - like a Meccano set.

Barbara remained at the Royal’s intensive care unit for seven days but within 10 weeks she was back in the saddle for the first time since the accident attempting to regain her confidence.

The 52-year-old said: “I’m delighted with the innovative surgery Sanjay Kalra performed- he has worked wonders and I am extremely grateful to him as his expertise has resulted in a much more timely and successful recovery.

“I realised that this surgery was quite novel and I’m lucky to have had this technology and procedure on my doorstep.

"It’s been a bit of a joke with friends and colleagues referring to me as ‘barbed wire’ instead of Barbara and also the ‘bionic woman’.

"I’ve not been through the security body scanners at an airport yet - they will probably never have seen anything quite like it."