Nine-year-old Jessica Brett was born with a large mole that covered half of her head, but thanks to a new balloon treatment she no longer has to live with the birthmark. According to The Telegraph this is the first time the procedure — which helps grow new skin — has successfully been done in the U.K.
Brett’s doctors advised Jessica‘s family to have the mole removed as soon as possible to avoid the risk of cancer, due to its significant size.
“If it turned cancerous they wouldn’t be able to remove it quickly enough because it’s such a large area and it takes such a long process,” said Becky Brett, Jessica’s mother.
So the Brett family opted to try the complex balloon procedure, in hopes Jessica’s mole would be replaced by her own skin.
The process meant that the young girl had three silicone balloons inserted beneath the skin in her scalp. The balloons were pumped with increasing amounts of saline every few weeks, causing her scalp to stretch and slowly grow more of her own skin.
When enough new skin had grown, the balloons were removed and the large mole was removed. Then the excess skin from the balloons was stretched across Jessica’s head to cover the wound.
Although Jessica spent six months with the bulbous balloon lumps under her scalp, her family said she handled the lengthy procedure bravely and without complaint. Even when strangers would comment on her shaved head or protruding lumps, she held her head high.
“Everyone is so proud of her,” her mother said. “ She just embraced what she has been through. She’s ever so brave.”