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'Lion faced' man transformed as surgeons rebuild his face
By Mirror | Updated Oct 15, 2018 at 12:44 EAT
Photo [Courtesy]

For 20 years Suresh lived with his condition 

In post-surgery photos, Suresh – whose name has been changed for privacy reasons – appears completely transformed

A man whose rare medical condition made his face look a bit like a lion has been given a new lease on life after plastic surgeons rebuilt his jaw.

Suresh, from Tamil Nadu in India, developed lion face syndrome when he was 18.

It caused his face to swell to an agonising size, and for years, doctors were unable to help him.

The condition is characterised by the facial bones overgrowing, supposedly giving the patient a lion-like visage.

According to reports, it can only be treated by exposing the overgrown bones and chipping away at them, a painful process.

For 20 years Suresh lived with his condition and doctors let him down time and time again.

But now, thanks to surgeon Sunil Richardson, the patient is almost unrecognisable.

"This patient had visited more than a dozen surgeons in different cities seeking treatment and all of the doctors only delayed it," said Dr Richardson.

“He heard about our craniofacial work through another patient and then came over.

“Since he was a poor patient, we treated him for free and he only paid for his medicines."

He continued: “Surgical treatment is the only effective choice and we did a cosmetic shave of the lesion without leaving an obvious scar.”

In post-surgery photos, Suresh – whose name has been changed for privacy reasons – appears completely transformed.

Dr Richarson, 42, said the patient’s condition was a result of fibrous dysplasia, where normal bone is replaced with connective tissue. It leads to bones that are weak and prone to expansion, which in turn can cause leontiasis ossea (lion face syndrome).

“It’s a very, very rare condition and – as this case is true classical leontiasis ossea – it is even more rare,” he explained.

“There are maybe a few ever published in literature.”

Suresh, 41, spent a total of 10 days in hospital, including one in intensive care, in Nagercoil, India.

Left untreated, lion face syndrome can encroach on the eyes, mouth and nose, interfering with sight, breathing and the taking of food.

In extreme cases, it can lead to the senses being lost one by one before death results from cerebral pressure.

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