A man who lost half of his face when doctors removed a cancerous tumour that had grown to the size of a melon has had it rebuilt by a pioneering surgeon.Tim McGrath, 38, was devastated when a rare form of soft tissue cancer called Synovial Sarcoma left him with a huge growth that had to be cut away by medics in 2015.The operation left Mr McGrath, from Michigan, "heartbroken" while he lived with exposed flesh for a year as his body rejected several attempts to reconstruct his face.But last year plastic surgeon Dr Kongkrit Chaiyasate agreed to help the patient, and managed to rebuild his face using flesh from his leg and forearm.Mr McGrath, who now plans to have further operations to rebuild his face, has called Dr Chaiyasate a "human angel".
He told the Mail online: "After the operation to remove the tumour I was heartbroken, I didn't realise that half of my face would be taken away and it wasn't until I went to Dr Chaiyasate that I start to feel real hope again."I was covered in scars from previous surgeries which limited my options for reconstruction but we went ahead and the outcome has been incredible." Dr Chaiyasate, of the Beaumont Hopsital in Royal Oak, Michigan was able to reconstructed his face using skin and muscle from his left leg, left forearm, and a flap from his forehead. Skin graphs were used to help the healing process."I currently can't drink liquid, eat through my mouth, or pronounce certain words, however my quality of life has improved massively,"he said.
The keen golfer said he was posting progression images on Facebook "to allow others to draw inspiration and allow others to step back a understand how grateful you should be for health and family and also being able to complete the simplest of human functions, eating, drinking, and talking".When Mr McGrath was first diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma in 2014, he sought none-surgical methods to treat his tumour for 18 months.He was fitted with a tracheostomy as the tumour doubled in size and invaded his mouth, leaving him breathing and eating through tubes in hospital.Radiation treatment shrank the mass down to the point where doctors could remove it during a 30 hour operation in October 2015.He told the Mail: "When I woke up I was in complete shock, as well as removing part of my face and bone structure, they had removed most of the muscle in my back, they had taken a rib, and they took part of my scapula and part of my shoulder too.
There were so many times when I wanted to give up and at times it was difficult to find the strength to carry on.I approached Dr Chaiyasate in April 2016 following a recommendation by a friend and the plastic surgeon has now performed five successful operations on his face.Further operations could allow Mr McGrath to eat and drink without tubes again.The self-employed electrician said his family and friends had organised fundraisers to help him pay off up to $50,000 for the treatment.His health insurance policy covered most of the costs, which he said totalled $1.2million for his first eight weeks in hospital.