My new face
Surgeons battle to save the life of 22-year-old Zinash who has a terrible tumour…
NEW factual Critical Surgery: Changing Lives thursday, 10.00pm channel 5
When Zinash Ali was born, her family was overjoyed to welcome such a beautiful young girl to their family, yet they soon realised there was something terribly wrong with their beloved daughter.
A tumour started to grow in Zinash’s lower gum when she was a child and, over the years, it became so large that it burst out of her mouth, destroyed her jawbone and has left her fighting for her life.
Having tried everything to help Zinash, now 22, her father sold his only ox to pay for her to travel 500 miles to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to meet volunteer surgeons. But can they save her?
‘It’s the biggest benign tumour I’ve ever seen,’ says maxillofacial surgeon, Kelvin Mizen. ‘It’s causing her problems eating and before long it will crush her windpipe. It’s a very complicated operation and there’s a chance that she might not make it.’
Despite the risks, Zinash decides to go ahead with the operation and she’s just one of the patients treated by surgeons from Facing Africa, a charity that travels to the poorest parts of Africa to perform facial reconstructive surgeries.
During Zinash’s 13-hour operation, surgeons want to remove the tumour and use a bone from her leg to reconstruct her jaw.
When she comes round after the surgery, Zinash’s family are delighted to see her smiling for the first time in years.
‘I thought this tumour was going to kill me,’ says Zinash. ‘Now I am looking forward to the future.’
Smiling... Zinash with her father. Inset: Zinash after surgery