A WORTHING man had a balloon placed under his scalp as part of groundbreaking surgery to stretch his skin following a tumour.
Surgeons used the method to stretch Chris Stoyanov’s skin, inserting a special bag and gradually filling it with fluid until it was the size of a grapefruit.
The 30-year-old builder said: “It was very uncomfortable and as it got bigger I had to be more and more careful that it didn’t burst.
“It was a difficult six months but I managed to take things very slowly and carefully and it’s proved a huge success.”
The procedure came after Mr Stoyanov had endured 17 years of operations. He was 13 when a fatty cyst appeared on the crown of his head and despite numerous surgeries in Bulgaria, medics were unable to remove it for good.
Mr Stoyanov said: “After a few years, it just grew back again. I went back and forth from hospital.
“Surgeons would keep removing the tumour and the skin around it. They had to use skin grafts from my legs to cover the patches and my hair never grew back so I spent nearly seven years in baseball caps.”
Two years after moving to Worthing, he consulted his GP who referred him to specialists in London, where he was told that if the tumour was left to grow untreated it could eventually pierce his skull and prove life threatening.
Surgeons discovered that previous attempts had not removed all the tumour tissue and in order to get rid of it all they had to take away 23cm of skin from Mr Stoyanov’s head. A year later, surgeon Niall Kirkpatrick came up with an innovative solution to his problem.