The left side of the face of a 14 year old Iraqi girl was disfigured due to a rare disease that causes shrinking of the face. She got her face and her confidence back here in Delhi. The expert doctors at Max Hospital, Saket, used tissues from her thigh to correct the facial deformity, which included a sunken, a disfigured forehead as well as chin.

Dr. Sunil Choudhary, Director of aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, Max Super-Specialty Hospital said, “Before the surgery, Athra looked like a 6-year-old girl from the left side. The height, width and even the volume of the face had reduced by one-third due to an autoimmune disorder, Parry-Romberg Syndrome.” The corrective surgical process took 8 hours where tissues from one part of the body were used at the place where they were missing.

The surgery was headed by Dr. Choudhary and he was assisted by 2 other plastic surgeons, Dr. Prateek Arora and Dr. Raghav Mantri. He added, “It was like a half-face transplant. The challenge was to give the deformity a shape that makes the girl look better. We somehow succeeded in our endeavor.”

First of all the doctors took a three dimensional CT scan for looking into the volume of deficiency on the disfigured side of the face. Later, the team of doctors used a wax mold for carving out the exact shape of the dentures so that the dimension of the graft required for the transplant can be determined.

“In the US and other developed countries, surgeons use CT scan images to design fat graft created by a 3D printer. Since that is very costly, we have developed an affordable method for crafting the face,” informed the plastic surgeon.

Informing about the procedure, he further added that the dissected tissue was taken from the thigh region and then was transplanted on her face by using specialized operating microscopes and precision instruments. He said, “When the girl came to our hospital, she would not lift the hijab from her face. She was sad and apprehensive about the reaction from others. It’s only been a week since she was operated upon but there’s a smile on her face.

Dr. Choudhary further informed that facial restructuring of patients who are suffering from ailments such as Parry Romberg syndrome can only be performed when the problem is not in the progressive stage. He said, “Usually, the shrinking of face stops at a particular age. In Athra’s case, the shrinking started when she was four years old but it stopped as she turned 13. So we could operate on her.”


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