New year new skin for Fife school girl

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CHRISTMAS wishes have come true for a Fife school girl who has be told she will be gifted new skin.

Megan Roxburgh, 11, from Inverkeithing, was born with a big port-wine birthmark covering her back and half of her front.

She had her first ‘hot laser’ surgery to remove it when she was just six weeks old and over the years has had many other similar painful procedures.

Unfortunately, hair began to grow on the areas of new skin and Megan was unable to receive the required hair removal treatment, worth £3,000 on the NHS.

The family spent more than three years looking for a solution for Megan after NHS ‘cold laser’ treatments were unsuccessful, then a cosmetic clinic in Glasgow came to their aid.

Sculpta Clinic has offered to treat the Dalgety Bay Primary School pupil for free with the painless Soprano hair removal procedure.

Megan’s dad, Stewart, 35, said that the pain aspect was the most important.  He said: “The biggest psychological barrier for her is pain.

“In the past she’s gone through a great deal of pain and discomfort.

“When we heard about the Soprano system we sat Megan down to talk to her about it.  Her first question was, ‘is it going to hurt?’

“When we explained that it wouldn’t she said, ‘yep, I can do that’.”

After Megan was born her dad and mum, Lisa, 36, were told of potential danger of their daughter’s birthmark if left untreated.  Mr Roxburgh said: “The doctors’ concern was if there was any change in the pigmentation, there was the possibility it could turn cancerous.”

Mr Roxburgh described the anguish that he and his wife experienced when their daughter went in for her first surgery at just six weeks old.

He said: “It’s basically a third-degree burn and you can only do a five percent area at a time, otherwise the body goes into shock.

“At first we were in full agreement to go ahead but when they explained it was like putting a hot iron on your back and lifting the skin off, you think, is that something you want to subject your child to?

“But she was just six-weeks-old and we thought, hopefully she’s never going to remember it.”

The couple had hoped that their daughter’s treatment would be complete before she turned three but it took six years in total.

Mr Roxburgh said: “They could only do an area the size of a tennis ball each time and then it was waiting for new skin to grow, three to four months of recovery and another two or three months waiting on a new appointment.

“As she grew bigger, it got harder and harder.  At one-and-a-half years, she got quite a big area done and it was absolutely soul-destroying.

“She came out of theatre and cried for six hours until we could get the right dose of morphine into her.

“It’s been awful for me and my wife to try to explain to her that all the pain she was going through would be worth it in the end.  But try telling a child that.

“It’s not something I wish on any other parent, to have to watch your child go through that.”

After the birthmark treatment was complete, Megan’s new skin began to sprout hair which has left the 11-year-old self-conscious and anxious when swimming or in gym class.

A specialist recommended the Soprano hair removal system, which is not an option on the NHS – Scotland does not have a machine and the cost for one is £70,000.

By chance, Mr Roxburgh received an e-mail discount offer for Soprano from Sculpta Clinic just one week after the specialist had recommended it.

Mr Roxburgh contacted Dr Mohammad Ahmad at the clinic to see if it would be possible to treat someone as young as Megan.

Not only did Mr Ahmad agree, but he also offered to do it free of charge.

He said: “Dr Ahmad said that there was no way he could deny a child from finishing off the treatment when the clinic has the technology.”

Megan will start her £3,000 treatment in January and may have as many as 30 sessions at the clinic.

A relieved Mr Roxburgh said: “It’s a real positive step in the right direction for us.  She’s been through so much in her short life and if we can get this final piece of the jigsaw done, that’d be the icing on the cake.

“There were moments when we questioned whether or not we’d made the right decision in the first place, as you’re never fully prepared as a parent to see you child suffering.

“But now that we know she’s almost at the finish line and it’s not going to hurt, we’re happy with our original decision.”

He added: “Next year she is going to high school and while her friends all know about her condition at primary and are fine about it, kids can be nasty.

“Hopefully it’ll all be finished by the time she starts high school in August.”

The clinical director of Sculpta Clinic, Dr Mohammad Ahmad, said: “Megan is the reason Soprano technology was developed.

“Many people associate laser hair removal with pain and therefore don’t consider the treatment or stop when the pain becomes intolerable.

“The new treatment not only has proven results but is virtually painless, allowing patients like Megan to get the results she wants with little discomfort to her body.

“We pride ourselves on using only the most innovative treatments available in order to achieve the maximum benefits for all of our patients and we are delighted to be treating Megan as we know she will be happy with the results.”

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