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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Toddler born with 'clown-nose' birthmark spends two hours in surgery to get a 'face like Mummy's'

By Joanna Corrigan

Connie at three months after the birthmark had grown to cover her nose

For three years, she had to put up with cruel taunts because of a condition that left her with a bright red 'clown nose' just weeks after she was born.

Her mother had to resort to hiding Connie Lloyd's face when they went to the doctors because people made such 'horrible' comments.

But now Connie has a new lease of life after surgery to remove the blemish, which actually marked the existence of a tumour.

Following her three-and-a-half hour operation, a delighted Connie proclaimed that she now had a 'nose like her mum's'.

Her mother, from Slough, Berkshire, said: 'When we saw her nose we were amazed. She looked like a different child but we knew it was our Connie.'

Doctors had spotted a shadow on Connie's nose at the 26-week scan but when she was born in September 2008, she appeared perfectly healthy.

Two weeks later, her parents Zara and Tom spotted their daughter's nose was turning bright red. What started as a tiny dot quickly grew to 4cm wide.

Their GP referred them to a skin specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, who diagnosed the baby with haemangioma - a benign tumour.

The little girl had a haemangioma - a benign tumour

Connie became only the eighth baby in the UK to try the drug Propranolol - used for heart conditions - to stop the growth becoming larger.

But her parents were told there was no cure and also warned she could even bleed to death if her nose was scratched or bruised.

Her mother searched for anyone who could help and eventually located surgeon Dr Iain Hutchison who specialises in treating facial disfigurements.

He operated on Connie in March, working to remove the tumour and leaving her with just a small scar.

Happy: Connie following the successful operation to remove the mark

Her mother said: 'Before the operation, Connie was quite shy and when people made comments and pointed she would turn her head.

'Even just going to the doctors' surgery was awful for both of us. I would hide Connie in the car to avoid people making horrible comments.

'By the time Connie was four weeks old, her nose was a perfect clown's nose and not only was the birthmark growing externally, but internally too.

'We were constantly worried. The doctors said if she cut or grazed it, she could bleed to death. There were treatments to stop it getting bigger but nothing to get rid of it.'

'It was the longest two hours of my life when Connie was in the theatre. When she came out of the operation she said her nose was like her mum's.

'Now she is doing really well, she has a big group of friends and we are so proud of her.'

She added: 'It's nice not to have to deal with the cruel comments any more but, red nose or not, Connie has always been our perfect little girl.'

Connie in the womb at 32 weeks, with the mark visible on her nose



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