You may have heard about Christine Honeycutt, the 11-year-old girl from North Carolina who suffers from Parry-Romberg Syndrome, a rare condition that gradually causes the skin and tissue of one side of the face to atrophy. The cause of this condition is unknown, as is the cure.
Patients with Parry-Romberg may also experience neurological symptoms, such as seizures and severe migraines. Christine endured severe pain in her face, bloody noses and had a seizure at the age of 7. Although some case reports exist that suggest that the cancer drug methotrexate can stop the progression of the Syndrome, it didn’t work for Christine. Fortunately, Christine’s mother, Vicki Honeycutt, found Dr. John Siebert, professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in Madison.
According to ABC News, Dr. Siebert, “has performed a special type of microsurgical reconstruction on about 120 people with Parry-Romberg Syndrome.” He performed this operation on Christine on November 15th. The story explains, “The surgery involved taking tissue from the area under her arm near where her breast would be and transplanting it into her face. Siebert said the tissue already had working blood vessels.” Although doctors usually allow the disease to completely run its course before undergoing reconstructive surgery, Dr. Siebert decided to intervene early in Christine’s case. ABC quoted the doctor as saying, “”I’ve operated on almost 400 people with facial deformities — about 120 with Rombergs — and of those 400, more than half had injected fat that failed and melted away,” he said.
Luckily, this surgery has minimal side effects and Christine is doing very well post-op. To most, “plastic surgery,” has a generally negative connotation. It’s important to remember that cosmetic surgery can serve to help those suffering from a wide variety of diseases recover from the physical consequences of their conditions. At Palm Beach Plastic Surgery, we take special care of those who have suffered and recovered from terminal illnesses, including breast reconstruction after Cancer and nose Cancer reconstruction. Dr. Barr also performs hand reconstruction surgery. For more information on Dr. Barr’s reconstructive procedures, please call 561-833-4122.