Malaysia and Australia work together to give boy a new face
Malaysian plastic surgeon Dr James Leong Chin Sek led a team of four surgeons to remove a disfiguring growth from the face of seven-year-old Filipino boy, Jhonny Lameon,
The surgery, which was conducted at Monash Children’s Hospital in March, removed the severe frontonasal encephalocele, a neural tube defect that resulted in membranous sacs expanding through openings in the skull
He had already lost sight in one eye after the sac pushed into it and caused irreparable damage.
All the surgeons worked pro bono on the eight-hour operation on Jhonny’s entire face.
“I was sent an e-mail with photos and the story of Jhonny who had this terrible defect and straight away we decided to help him.
“Our team at Monash Health mobilised all of our resources to bring Jhonny to Melbourne,” said Dr Leong, 48.
Jhonny Lameon before and after surgery. Photo Courtesy of Bernama
Dr James Leong Chin Sek led the team of surgeons who conducted the surgery on Jhonny Lameon. Photo Courtesy of Bernama
Jhonny has been recovering at the Monash Children’s Hospital and the Children First Foundation’s rehabilitation farm at Kilmore, 40km north of Melbourne.
Dr Leong, who is from Kota Baru, said the rare defect was see in only 10,000 babies.
He added that usually the defect is picked up on through ultrasounds and treated very early but because of Jhonny's family's financial state and the fact that there were no facilities near Jhonny's home, the surgery could only be done in Australia.
Non-profit organisation Interplast and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons were on a visit to the Phillippines when they saw Jhonny.
They then got in touch with Dr Leong to assist with the surgery.
“His condition is cured now, which is going to be fantastic for him,” Dr Leong said.
“It has been a privilege for all of us to be part of this life-changing surgery.”
Source: The Star, Bernama