successful: Dr Wolf-Gunter Steinmetz of American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital with Zainab and her mother Furat Eisa Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: A six-year-old Iraqi girl with a rare hairy birthmark that covered her entire torso hopes to lead a normal life as a prolonged treatment that began in a Dubai hospital four years back has started showing results.

Zainab was born with the rare Giant Congenital Hairy Nevus condition — a hairy birthmark covering almost the entire front and back of her body. The birthmark also came with lesions.

It’s the first such case in Middle East to be registered with the American Association for Large Nevi and Related Disorders.

Getting better

Zainab has undergone nine surgical procedures since treatment began four years ago. 
Earlier, she could not even wear a T-shirt as the marks would show. “Zainab could not play or run around with kids her age because of her condition. But things are getting better,” said Dr Wolf-Gunter Steinmetz of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital in Dubai Healthcare City where Zainab is currently undergoing treatment.

Getting the birthmark removed is expensive as it requires several surgeries spread over several years.

The family had given up all hopes until they were approached by the Healthcare City-based hospital
who offered to treat Zainab for free after seeing her plight on a TV show. “I have five children and there was no way we could afford the hospital bills. We hope Zainab gets rid of this condition and leads a normal life,” the girl’s mother Furat Eisa, told XPRESS from Jordan where the family is based.

A few Good Samaritans also pitched in with funds to meet the costs of flying Zainab to Dubai for the treatment.

“If left untreated, the psychological trauma caused by the condition would have been immense,” said Dr Steinmetz.

Slow process

“The treatment involves expanding normal healthy skin around the nevus [lesions of the skin] using expanders and later removing the nevus to cover it with healthy skin,” he explained.

The hospital has managed to successfully remove nearly one-third of the birthmark. “We have removed about 30 per cent of the nevus from various parts of her body including the chest, face, legs and back.

“But it’s a slow process and might take another seven to eight years. It was a challenging task given Zainab’s tender age. We had to ensure that we went slow with the procedure and allow the skin to heal,” Dr Steinmetz said.

The charitable initiative has provided the family a ray of hope. “Each time the mark reduces, I get hope for my baby. I am waiting for the day I can see her dress and do things like other children,” said Zainab’s mother.