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Doctors from UK rebuilt jaw with shoulder bone

Ali Campbell, teacher from Dorset recently found out she had mouth cancer. It all started with a mouth ulcer that wouldn’t go away. Ali was left devastated when doctors confirmed it was an aggressive cancer. To get rid of the tumor, doctors had to cut it away and reconstructed her jaw with titanium plates and bone from her shoulder.

But despite all the support especially from her husband, Ian, Ali said that the ordeal left her with PTSD and fatigue. She had now become self-conscious of her face that she struggled to leave the house.

Doctors reconstructed her jaw with titanium plates and bone from her shoulder.

The mammoth operation left the crochet teacher with such poor co-ordination she could barely string a few knots together, and was forced to shut down her business.

In addition, biopsies taken during the surgery revealed the cancer had eroded her bone. Doctors revealed she would need a six-week course of radiotherapy.

Ali described the radiotherapy as the ‘worst part’ of her journey. She claimed that the facial protective mask caused parts of her hair to fall out.

The cancer diagnosed as in the aggressive stage one cancer, which could have developed to stage four in a fortnight.

Continuing to struggle with the daily pain, Ali is still taking morphine two and a half years later and suffers with fatigue.

Ali had now become a determined patient. She had managed to pick up her creative skills again. She could now crochet in her spare time, as well as maintained a ‘mini farm’ of 14 ducks, 12 hens and two pygmy goats.

She still had three major operations ahead of her – a bone graft from her hip to her jaw, one to fit teeth implants and another to reconstruct the left side of her face which dropped after the surgery.

Now, Ali had to wear a specially moulded splint which supports the roof of her mouth and maintains its structure while she waits for her next surgery.

-article published in

December 5, 2019

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