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Ulster lad's marathon chin op a success: doc

By Sean O'Driscoll

A Donegal teenager born without a lower jaw has successfully undergone 16 hours of surgery to construct a new face.

Dr Alex Greenberg, the first surgeon to emerge last night from the operation on Letterkenny teenager Alan Doherty, said he felt the operation was going very well.

Dr Greenberg, a facial reconstruction expert, finished his part of the operation at 9pm New York time (2am Northern Ireland time) yesterday but said he would be staying after midnight to check progress. He said he would also be returning today to check Alan's status.

He spoke to Alan's father, Danny, after coming out of the operating room at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.

As he spoke, microsurgeon Dr Eliot Rose was attaching the blood vessels on Alan's new jawbone and to his face, the most painstakingly slow part of the operation.

Alan's new jaw was sculpted from his jawbone and has been attached to his lower back for the last four months.

Doctors hope that, by attaching it to his back, Alan's body will have had time to adjust to the jawbone before it is permanently placed in his face.

Dr Rose also spoke to Danny Doherty, and told him the initial part of the operation was going well.

Alan and his parents, Danny and Bernie, will have to spend another six or seven weeks in New York while Alan recovers.

Before the operation, Alan sent an email to Bill Broderick, the executive director of the charity, the Physically Challenged Irish and American Youth Team (PCIAYT).

Mr Broderick first brought Alan to the US and introduced him to Dr Rose.

In his email, Alan said he hoped to see Mr Broderick bright and early at the hospital.

Last night, Mr Broderick said he was confident of success after speaking to Danny Doherty.

Belfast Telegraph


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