Pensioner's groundbreaking 3D facial surgery to remove tumour
A pensioner is recovering from ground-breaking reconstructive surgery to remove an aggressive tumour that had spread across her face.
Ann O’Sullivan, 69, went to her GP complaining of headaches, believing the cause to be a sinus problem.
But doctors diagnosed an undetected tumour that had spread across the left side of her face.
Two months ago she underwent an operation to remove a large portion of her jaw, her left eye and several teeth, before surgeons at St George’s Hospital in Tooting began the painstaking task of rebuilding her face.
The 10-hour procedure, at the hospital’s specialist Maxillofacial Unit, involved electronically scanning the opposite side of Mrs O'Sullivan’s face to build a 3D profile that surgeons then replicated with the help of a CT scan.
Mrs O'Sullivan said the hardest thing was losing her left eye, but said she would still be keeping watch of her grandchildren
Her jaw was reconstructed using a portion of leg bone, while several tissue grafts were taken to reconnect arteries and veins.
But a complication led to her back in surgery again the following day, for another 10-hour operation to ensure blood was circulating properly.
Mrs O'Sullivan, from Roehampton, is now recovering at her sister’s home in Surbiton.
She said: “I’ve always been healthy so it came as a shock when the doctor referred me to hospital where the scan revealed a tumour.
“The surgeons told me it was just rotten luck but that I was lucky the tumour had been growing outwards rather than inwards.
“I can’t praise the staff enough. They kept me informed every step of the way and have been very caring and kind from the surgical team to the nurse who bought me a cup of tea in the small hours of the morning. I put my faith in the hospital and they saved my life.”
Dr Kavin Andi, one of two surgeons involved in the operation, said: “It’s always satisfying to see a procedure go well and return people to their home environment so they can get on with their lives.”
“The 3-D imaging means I can look at the tumour from different angles and take the necessary measurements including how and where bone is removed and re-sculpted.”
“I am particularly pleased because Ann was allowed to go home on the pre-agreed date, despite the extra operation.”
The operation involved taking a 3D scan of Mrs O'Sullivan's face
Mrs O’Sullivan, from Roehampton, said the hardest thing to deal with was losing her left eye.
She said: “The hospital offered me a false eye but I don’t want that staring back at me every morning. I’m as fixed as I’m going to be and that’s good enough.”
One of her grandchildren even asked if her eye would grow back.
She said: “I told him no but that I could still keep on an eye on him with the other one.”
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