Zhao Huikang, a 15-month-old boy with a rare facial deformity that created a bulge in his face resembling a scary mask, has come to Shanghai for renovation surgery.
Doctors at Shanghai Art Plastic Cosmetic and Esthetic Surgery Hospital undertook a group diagnosis on the boy yesterday as a run-up to a series of surgeries.
According to doctors, Zhao Huikang suffers from macrostomia, an abnormally large opening of the oral cavity that occurs less than once in every 100,000 newborn babies.
In addition to the problems of his appearance, the disease also affects his chewing function and speaking.
"Surgery is the only solution, while the patient must undergo many renovations in line with the age and growing of the face and facial features," said Dr Ren Tianping, director of the hospital's plastic surgery department.
"Since he can't chew, the boy also suffers malnutrition. Our surgery will ensure he can eat."
Zhao was born into a farm family in a poor rural area of Hunan Province. His family never gave up the hope of treating him and giving him a normal look, even though "some neighborhood people suggested them to abandon the boy," Ren said.
Yi Xilian, the 24-year-old mother, said she cried for the whole month when Zhao was born and felt heartbroken.
"The only thing I could do is to give him more love and more care and try our best to make him live a normal life," she said.
Concerning the family's situation, the hospital has decided to give free treatment.
"Repairing the face is also a repair to his mental wound. He and his family had and will receive so much pressure on his appearance," Ren said.