Blue Planet II
Dylan undergoes pioneering surgery to treat potentially deadly birthmarks covering his body
Cute clownfish, parrotfish, green turtles, manta rays and the reef octopus are among sea creatures featured in this third programme of Sir David Attenborough’s nature series, which takes in life that relies on the world’s coral reefs.
When four-year-old Dylan was born his mother Nikki was overcome by fear each time she touched him. He was born with giant congenital melanocytic nevus, a condition which has left
80 per cent of his body covered by hairy birthmarks.
‘Dylan’s back was open and bleeding,’ recalls Nikki in this week’s episode of Body Bizarre. ‘I was scared to hold him because I didn’t know if he would survive.’
Most worrying for Nikki and her partner, Kara, was the fact that, if left untreated, there’s a one-in-10 chance Dylan’s moles will develop into deadly skin cancer. ‘He could be diagnosed with something that could take his life in two months,’ explains Kara sadly.
Now, having undergone 27 surgeries, Dylan, from Atlanta in the American state of Georgia, is facing his biggest operation yet – and it’s a pioneering procedure. In Cincinnati, doctors insert two expanding balloons filled with saline under Dylan’s skin. As they stretch the surface area, it is hoped enough fresh skin will be created to replace an 180cm-square birthmark area.
But Dylan’s parents and twin brothers have an anxious wait.
‘His future is uncertain,’ admits Kara. ‘There are all kinds of issues we could potentially face. You can’t dismiss the worries and the fears.’
Thankfully, Dylan’s surgery goes well, and although he faces a tough recovery period, he’s delighted to hear the arm he uses to throw his baseball will eventually regain full mobility. Nikki and Kara are ecstatic at Dylan’s prognosis. ‘He’s really tough,’ says Nikki. ‘He’s my hero.’
TLC is available on Sky Channel 125 and Virgin 167
Coral creature… A reef octopus
Courage… The youngster today Rare condition… Dylan as a toddler
with mum Kara
Recovering… Dylan after implant surgery