How Jeremy Renner's body had to be reconstructed using metal

How Jeremy Renner’s body had to be reconstructed: Metal plates hold his ribcage and eye socket in place while his left shin is now part-titanium — after snow plow accident left him with 30 broken bones

  • Renner, 52, was almost crushed to death under a snowplow at his Nevada home
  • Metal plates were used to reassemble his shattered chest and eye socket
  • A metal rod and screws were inserted in his left shin to repair a spiral fracture 

Marvel Universe star Jeremy Renner’s body is being held together by titanium plates and screws after a tragic accident left him with 30 broken bones.  

Mr Renner, 52, suffered blunt chest trauma on New Year’s Day when a daring attempt to save his nephew from being crushed by a rolling Snowcat landed him under the massive 14,000-pound vehicle’s metal tracks.

His injuries included a shattered right knee, broken jaw, and broken clavicle, as well as a punctured liver and a collapsed lung.

Doctors inserted metal plates into his torso to stabilize his ribcage as well as his eye socket, which had caved in. They also inserted a titanium metal rod in Mr Renner’s left shin to hold it together after it was snapped. 

Renner was pulled under the snowplow, where he sustained major injuries including over 30 broken bones. He was essentially put back together with the help of metal plating and screws

He suffered 30 broken bones, a collapsed lung and had his liver pierced by a shattered rib in the horrific, death-defying accident on New Year’s Day

Mr Renner’s eight ribs were broken in 14 pieces as a result of the blunt chest trauma – an injury known as ‘flail chest’, defined as three or more ribs broken in at least two places.

Shocking animation shows Jeremy Renner almost crushed by snowcat 


Renner was clearing snow at his Lake Tahoe home using a plow on his Snowcat when the multi-ton machine began to roll out of control. Renner got caught under the treads which ran him over from feet to head. The fact that he survived is miraculous.  

Flail chest causes part of the rib cage to become separated from the chest wall instead of rigidly holding the normal shape of the chest.

The broken bones pierced his liver and likely caused his lung to collapse.

Chest flail often goes hand-in-hand with severe lung injury that hampers breathing.

Different sections of broken ribs are isolated from and interfere with normal chest movements, meaning the chest cannot expand properly or draw air into the lungs.

Flail chest is severe and can be fatal in up to 25 percent of cases. Surgery is typically required to ensure there is no underlying damage to the lungs, which is a major concern among doctors in such cases. 

Mr Renner’s medical team rebuilt his splintered rib cage with sturdy yet flexible metal plates, a kind of scaffolding that will be in his body for the rest of his life.

Surgical metals like those used in Mr Renner’s chest are usually made of stainless steel or titanium and are held in place on his ribs by screws. 

The Hurt Locker star had eight broken ribs, a broken right shoulder, right knee, left tibia, left ankle, right clavicle, face, jaw, mandible, and eye socket. 

When repairing orbital bone fracture, or a broken eye socket, surgeons will insert a piece of titanium mesh roughly two square centimeters big and secured by screws to help the bones heal. 

Removal of titanium mesh in orbital bones can be difficult and dangerous to remove due to tissue ingrowth, so it is unclear whether Mr Renner’s face plates are permanent. 

Mr Renner’s nephew Alex Fries was trying to move a pickup truck at the time

Renner is seen in the reconstruction leaning out of the cab to see if his nephew was out of the way

Renner fell, and was then dragged under the tracks of the snow plow

He said: ‘This whole [right] side of my body, I don’t really feel sensitivity to touch, but it’ll grow. I can feel it, the change already in two months.

He does not have feeling in his face but his vision is fine.

‘I feel hardly any of my teeth on the upper part because they went inside my face to put in two plates because of an orbital crack. I’m learning to speak again.’

Mr Renner told Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview on Thursday that he felt all of the pain as he was being run over by the behemoth machine: ‘I was on asphalt and ice. It feels like you imagine it. I could see my eye from my other eye. I was seeing stars.’

The sheer weight of the snowplow crushed Mr Renner into the hard asphalt. Snow would have been preferred as it could have cushioned the blow, he said.

‘I moved my legs, and I said, that one’s really messed up. That leg is going to be a problem,’ he said.

‘What does my body look like? Am I just going to be like a spine and a brain like a science experiment? Is that my existence now? What is my existence going to be like?’

Renner’s traumatizing experience took place in January. He was airlifted to a Reno hospital near his home in the mountains and is still on the mend.

In his interview with Diane Sawyer, Mr Renner uses a walker as well as a scooter to get around. He said excitedly on camera that it was the first day he had been on his feet since the incident.

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