A two-year-old girl born without a nose, no sense of smell and no sinuses has just become the first person ever to receive a surgically built one.
Tessa Evans, from Maghera, Ireland, was born with complete congenital arhinia — an incredibly rare medical condition, which left her without a nose.
Arhinia is so rare that only 47 cases have been reported in medical history. The condition left Tessa with no sense of smell and no sinuses, but she could still cough, sneeze and catch a cold. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Tessa Evans, two, was born without a nose (left) but has become the first person ever to have a cosmetic nasal implant fitted to help create the missing appendage. She is pictured (right) after the procedure (photo: Caters News Agency).
2. Tessa’s parents Grainne, 31, and Nathan Evans, 33, made the tough decision for their daughter to have this new procedure to begin creating a nose while she is still a toddler. She is pictured before the operation.
Tessa has just undergone a groundbreaking operation to have a mold inserted into her face, to stretch her skin and gradually build the missing nose.
The child will need more surgeries to get the implant replaced as she gets older, so that her nose “grows” along with her face.
Once she is in her teens, Tessa will receive her final prosthesis, which will be colored with light and dark shades to make it look like a real body part.
Typically, people who do need a nasal prosthesis get a surgery to rebuild their nose in their teens, after the face has stopped growing.
3. Tessa has just undergone a pioneering operation to have a mold inserted into her face, to stretch her skin and slowly build the missing facial feature. It will take place in a series of surgeries over several years.
4. Tessa is pictured after her operation. The surgeon who carried out the procedure said she looked “immediately more featured” afterwards.
However, Tessa’s parents Grainne, 31, and Nathan Evans, 33, decided that their child would have this new procedure to start creating a nose while she is still a toddler, in the hope of avoiding a more invasive surgery in the future.
The process Tessa is going through is much less aggressive than the standard procedure and will prevent major surgery when she’s older. Speaking about their decision, her mom said:
It was an incredibly difficult decision for all of us, we love Tessa so much and thought she was completely beautiful the way she was.
We ultimately decided to go ahead as it was a chance to gradually change her appearance over the years and to normalise her profile without ever cutting her face.
Normally the advice is to wait until teenage years when the face has stopped growing and construct a nose using bone and skin grafts which is quite a major undertaking and leaves scarring.
5. Tessa will have surgery to replace the prosthesis every few years so the new nose “grows” with her face.
6. “Tessa hasn’t mentioned her new ‘nose’ and it has been such an inspiration to watch her take the surgery in her stride”, her mom said.
Mom Grainne Evans added:
With Tessa being the first patient to have this done we had to put a lot of trust in her surgical team that we were making the right decision for Tessa’s future.
But thanks to Tessa paving the way, another little girl in the UK will have the same procedure in the coming months.
And so far the parents have been happy with the results. Grainne said:
We have been totally thrilled with the result, she’s equally as beautiful as before, there’s just a little extra Tessa now.
Tessa hasn’t mentioned her new “nose” and it has been such an inspiration to watch her take the surgery in her stride.
7. The Evans family are campaigning to raise awareness about arhinia and hope Tessa’s story can help other children with the condition. Tessa is pictured with her parents, and her siblings Cassie and Catha.
Grainne has since contacted more than 20 families from across the globe and there is now a support group to share experiences. She added:
We are grateful for every opportunity to raise awareness of this extremely rare condition. She said:
We are excited to share the results of Tessa’s surgery and believe it will represent a very positive option for other children with arhinia.
8. Tessa is one of very few babies born without a nose.
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