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The ‘curious cases’ of Benjamin Button, Paa and Aditya Sharma

Aditya Sharma, suffering from a rare premature aging disease started looking ‘Old’ even while he was a child like Auro in PAA. He became the youngest person in India to undergo a Face and neck lift surgery at the age of 17 years by Dr K M Kapoor.

 
PRLog - Dec. 13, 2009 - CHANDIGARH, India -- “Fifty is supposed to be my father’s age” said Bill Cosby on turning 50 years old, in his book ‘Time Flies’. No body wants to or likes to grow old. Every person has to face a similar situation during middle age when his face and body starts looking older but mentally he still feels to be young.  But imagine the plight of a young boy who is just 17 years and already looking like 50 years old. After the last year release of ‘The Curious case of Benjamin Button’(winner of 3 Oscars) and this year release of Amitabh Bachhan’s  ‘PAA’ , the issue of premature aging due to various disorders and plight of such children has generated immense interest all over the world.

“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, and even smells the same. You realize what’s changed, is you.” says Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button. This is the story of Aditya Sharma, who was changing differently and faster than his peers in his class, all alone. He was suffering from a rare aging disease, Cutis laxa, means ‘Loose Skin’ and started looking ‘Old’ even while he was in his teens. This young lad, a budding fast bowler from Chandigarh, would always be an outcast in his class due to his mature looks. His own classmates would call him ‘Sir’ or ‘Uncle’ to tease him. This made him a loner and he would just concentrate on his bowling, day in and day out. Even while playing cricket, some doubts were raised about his age during selections due to his ‘aged looks’.

After visiting many hospitals and not getting any relief of his disorder, Aditya finally came to Fortis Hospital Mohali to meet Dr K M Kapoor, Senior Consultant, Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, after hearing about him. Dr Kapoor, after detailed examination and study of records and family history, diagnosed him to be suffering from a rare disorder, Cutis laxa, Autosomal Dominant variant. As there is no permanent cure for this disease, the only possible treatment was to reverse the age related changes on his face. Hence a face and neck lift surgery was performed on him by Dr K M Kapoor at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, to make him look young again. Generally face and neck lift surgery (Rhytidectomy) is done at 55 years or above age to give lift to the sagging skin caused by aging. Aditya became the probably youngest person in India to undergo a Face and neck lift surgery at the age of 17 years besides getting Botox injections and facial fillers treatment to reverse the aging changes on face.

Technically known as a Rhytidectomy (literally, surgical removal of wrinkles), Face and neck lift surgery is a type of cosmetic surgery procedure used to give a more youthful appearance. It usually involves the removal of excess facial and neck skin, with or without the tightening of underlying tissues, and the redraping of the skin on the patient’s face and neck . In facelift, an incision is made in front of the ear extending up into the hairline. The incision curves around the bottom of the ear and then behind it, usually ending near the hairline on the back of the neck. After the skin incision is made, the skin is separated from the deeper tissues with a scalpel or scissors (also called undermining) over the cheeks and neck. The skin is then redraped, and the excess skin is then removed, and the skin incisions are closed with sutures and staples.

After surgery, his prominent nasolabial lines or laugh lines were treated with Juvederm filler injection and Botox injection was given for Chin ‘Dents’ and ‘crow’s feet’ lines. The Juvederm and Botox treatment was expensive for Aditya’s family to afford but it was sponsored free by its manufacturer, Allergan, after coming to know of his story.

Aditya’s parents are happy now that he does not have to deal with mental trauma due to his aging disorder. Now he is back to his first love, Cricket with full vigor and focus to emulate feats of his favorite cricket player, Ishant Sharma. Next in the pipeline for him is Autologous Stem cell injection in the face for volume replacement in next stage with the expected help of an overseas support group.

Cutis laxa (CL), or elastolysis, is a rare, inherited or acquired connective tissue disorder in which the skin becomes inelastic and hangs loosely in folds. Cutis laxa (elastolysis) is characterized by degenerative changes in the elastic fibers resulting in loose, pendulous skin. The skin is sagging, redundant, and stretchable, with reduced elastic recoil. The loose skin is particularly obvious on the face, and children with the disorder look sad or mournful.The autosomal dominant form of cutis laxa (elastolysis) has a benign course; primarily, skin involvement is present, with few, if any systemic complications, and a normal life expectancy.The primary and most obvious symptom of these diseases, is caused by underlying defects in connective tissue structure, which also cause more serious internal problems in vocal cords, bones, cartilage, blood vessels, bladder, kidney, digestive system, and lungs. Plastic surgical procedures can be aesthetically and psychologically beneficial in children with congenital cutis laxa, and can be recommended without overt fear of wound disruption, or poor scarring.  Unlike patients with other disorders of the connective tissue, those with cutis laxa heal well. Repeated face lift and facial volume replacement seem to be an important way to manage patients with cutis laxa.

Dr K M Kapoor is a Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon and currently a senior consultant in the Cosmetic Surgery Division at Fortis Hospital, Mohali and Chandigarh, a leading hospital of North India. He is an MBBS and MS (General Surgery) from Govt. Medical College, Punjabi University, Patiala, India. He has to his credit, M.Ch. (Plastic Surgery) from Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, most prestigious Plastic Surgery training program in India. He has a professional education of Diplomate of National Board Exam (DNB) in Plastic Surgery and is an Indian National Board certified Plastic Surgeon.

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