Turtle Boy: British surgeon removes huge mole from little boy's back
Didier Montalvo, six, from Colombia, had the rare condition Congenital Melanocytic Nevus. Didier's mum Luz could not raise the money for the operation to remove the mole, but plastic surgeon Neil Bulstrode agreed to operate on Didier for free when he heard about his story.
The family was ostracised from their rural village as neighbours said the little boy's condition was due to being conceived during an eclipse. They said he was touched by evil forces, and he could not attend school or be baptised.
Before the surgery, Didier admitted:
I want to grow up. But the mole won't let me.
Neil flew to the Colombian capital Bogotá to help a team of surgeons remove Didier's birthmark that had burdened his whole life. It had grown so big there were fears it could become malignant.
The doctors carried out a complex series of skin grafts over several stages to remove the giant mole.
Neil, who is an expert in treating patients like Didier, said: "Didier's was the worst case I had ever seen. Effectively three quarters of the circumference of his body was affected.
"Obviously he has had to go through a number of painful operations, but we feel it was worth it. It's great to see the photos of how Didier is getting on now. I'm really happy with how things have healed."
The cause of Didier's condition is unknown, but doctors think there is a change in the development of skin in the embryo triggered by a gene mutation.
What an incredible story. Huge congratulations to Neil Bulstrode and his team.
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