THE brave sister of a Uttoxeter florist has undergone ground-breaking facial reconstruction surgery, after she developed a life-threatening tumour behind her eye.
Ann O’Sullivan, 69, the sister of Margaret Button, owner of Emilie Duclos florists, visited her doctor about a sinus problem only to discover her headaches were being caused by an aggressive tumour that had been spreading undetected across the left side of her face.
Specialist maxillofacial surgeons at St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, South London, had to remove a large portion of her jaw, her left eye, and a number of teeth to get rid of the cancerous tumour spreading across her face.
After the removal, the surgeons began the delicate procedure of reconstructing her face, using innovative computer technology to rebuild the damaged area.
Computer imaging software allowed the surgeons to create a 3D facial profile which they could replicate.
The ten-hour operation involved taking a portion of bone from her leg to reconstruct her jaw, along with a number of tissue grafts where arteries and veins were re-connected using cutting-edge micro-surgery.
Ms Button said: “I’ve never seen anything like what they did – they took some bone from her leg to reconstruct her jaw.
“She can’t praise the staff enough - you hear all the bad press on the NHS, but rarely the good stories.”
Mrs O’Sullivan said: ‘I’ve always been healthy so it came as a shock when the doctor referred me to hospital where the scan revealed a tumour.
“The hardest thing to take was the loss of my left eye.”
Family were a great source of support to Mrs O’Sullivan, along with caring hospital staff.
She said: “The staff kept me informed every step of the way and have been very caring and kind from the surgical team to the nurse who bought me a cup of tea in the small hours of the morning.
“The hospital offered me a false eye but I don’t want that.
“I’m as fixed as I’m going to be and that’s good enough.
“I put my faith in the hospital and they saved my life.”