Ground-breaking operation to restore smile to Dungannon girl '˜a success'

Ground-breaking surgery to restore a smile to a Dungannon child suffering from muscular dystrophy has produced its first positive result.

Monday, 14th August 2017, 4:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:38 am

Seven-year-old Carla Hughes had the pioneering face reanimation surgery in May at the Royal Free Hospital, London, to help restore her facial expression after the debilitating disease wasted away the muscles around her face.

During the complicated operation, surgeons removed muscles from Carla’s leg and implanted them in her neck. At the time, doctors said it would take ten to twelve weeks before they would know whether the operation was successful or not.

Her relieved parents Dessie and Anne, said Carla returned to London this week for her first major check-up, and has managed her first new facial movements. Her surgeon now expects the operation to be a success, they said.

“Carla is doing brilliant and is excited that she will have a smile again very soon”, said Dessie.

“Myself and Anne are very happy with everything that Carla has gone through and we cannot speak highly enough of the staff at the Royal Free hospital.”

He thanked the consultant, Mr Grobboloar, who he described as ‘the top plastic surgeon in the world’.

“Carla could not have been in better hands and to him we are so thankful. Carla has to go back to London in November and he expects to see more improvement.”

Although needing no more surgery, Carla has to undergo physiotherapy and daily exercises at home. “As a family we can see big improvements in Carla since the operation. She has coped brilliantly and healed very well.” Dessie also said that he would like to thank everybody that has sent their best wishes to Carla and his family. The brave father of three did a skydive earlier in the year to raise funds for a Muscular Dystrophy cure.