US surgeons give Irish teenager new million dollar chin

December 20th, 2008 - 3:25 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 20 (ANI): Surgeons in America have given an Irish teenager a new “million dollar chin”.

The 19-year-old Alan Doherty, from Donegal, was born with a rare condition called otofacial syndrome, which effectively meant he had no lower half to his face.

His parents were told he was unlikely to survive.

However, after a huge fundraising effort by local people, he has become the first person to have a series of operations to create a new jaw and chin.

The boy spent much of his early life in hospital, but coped with not being able to talk or swallow, reports BBC.

However, dealing with staring people was very difficult for him.

For the surgery, doctors took a piece of bone from Alan’’s hip, and carved it into the shape of a jaw.

They implanted the bone into his back to grow nerves and supporting tissue around it.

Then they removed the cultivated bone, and performed the delicate pioneering surgery on his face, adding extra tissue to make his new chin look as realistic as possible.

After nine gruelling operations taking more than a year, the result is not perfect, and the likelihood is that Alan will face more operations in the years to come.

Although he still cannot talk, and must feed himself through a tube, the improvement has been huge, and Alan is delighted with the results.

Speaking through a voice machine, he said: “I feel excellent now that I have finished the surgeries. I am looking forward to seeing relatives and friends again.

“We are not sure if I will be able to eat or drink, but the main thing I wanted was the chin.” (ANI)

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