Doctors have treated a young boy with a large birthmark on his face… by implanting horns in his forehead.
George Ashman, 5, was born with a bright red blemish on his forehead and his mother Karen, 33, feared he would endure a lifetime of bullying.
So when he was four he underwent a surgical procedure to stretch the ‘normal’ skin on his forehead so the birthmark could be removed and covered with the new unblemished tissue.
Doctors inserted two tissue expanders under the skin, which gradually inflated so they looked like two perfect devil’s horns.
After four months the implants were removed and the blemish was cut out, allowing the new skin to be stitched together – leaving just a small Harry Potter-style scar on George’s forehead.Karen from Radstock, Somerset, said: ‘When I first saw the implants in place I was speechless.
‘They were larger than I expected – and placed on either side of his tiny head looked like horns. My cute, angel-faced baby looked like the devil.
‘But I’m really proud of the strength he has shown through all of this. He has never let it hold him back.’
George was born in 2006 with a haemangioma birthmark – made up of bright, soft lumps of abnormal blood vessels.
Karen said: ‘When he was born immediately my mind raced forward ten years. George would be the picked-on kid with no friends, no girlfriend.’
In 2009 George was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to begin the procedure to remove the growth.
Last year doctors inserted two small inflatable sacks under his hair line at either side of his forehead.
Over four months, they gradually inflated with natural bodily fluid until they had stretched the skin enough to reach over the birthmark when it was removed.
During the four months he had the horns, George was subjected to cruel taunts from passers-by.
Karen – who is separated from George’s father Lee, a printer, said: ‘School kids hanging around on street corners were laughing and pointing.
‘Once, a teenage lad came right up to us to have a good look. He uttered a cry of disgust.
‘I was tearful and emotional. I had no problem loving my son but others’ reactions were hard to deal with. I felt like everyone was against us.’
George went under the knife in April this year to remove the birthmark and have his ‘new’ skin stretched across in its place.
He has only a small scar where the blemish used to be and has now started school with his friends.
Karen said: ‘What I’m most proud of is that through all this I’ve seen strength in George that I never had as a child. He’s different, but he’s himself – and he has never let it hold him back.
‘My little devil’s got guts – and with or without his birthmark and his horns I’ll always love him to bits for that.’