An 11-year-old Chinese girl has regained her self-confidence and smile after several rounds of facial surgery in Taiwan over the past two years, her doctors said on Thursday.
Yang Yunying (楊雲盈) from Yunnan Province began developing a swollen face when she was one year old and the symptoms worsened as she grew older.
Her face became deformed as a result of a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis, which made her a target of bullying.
Yan Kuo-shun (顏國順), chairman of the Christian charity Kids Alive International Taiwan, heard about Yang’s condition from a news report and referred her for treatment.
In early 2012, Yang came to Taiwan for the first time and had a full physical examination and underwent the first phase of surgical treatment.
On her second visit to Taiwan in October last year, she underwent a second round of surgery, and she finished treatment last month.
Yang is set to depart Taiwan on Thursday and is scheduled to return every one to two years for routine checks-ups, according to Chen Kuo-ting (陳國鼎), director of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Craniofacial Department and head of the surgical team.
Chen said the most complicated part of the treatment was a procedure to treat moyamoya disease, a rare condition which causes the arteries at the base of the brain to become blocked.
Chen said the psychological stress Yang endured as a result of her appearance was more unbearable than the surgical procedures.
However, Yang has become more energetic since the surgery, which has improved her appearance significantly, he said.
Yang and her mother, Jiang Limei (蔣李梅), thanked the doctors for giving Yang a new face and a new life.
They also expressed gratitude to Taiwanese charity groups for their assistance.
Jiang said her daughter has grown “prettier and taller” and was able to witness the spectacular fireworks display at the Taipei 101 on New Year’s Eve for the first time.
Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Craniofacial Center and the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation have been working together to provide cleft lip and palate treatment for children in developing nations, Chen said.
So far, they have brought six patients to Taiwan for treatment, including Yang, who was the first one from China, he said.