The Doctors discuss the latest health headlines creating buzz around the country.
Living with Parry-Romberg Syndrome
Virginia, 44, has been self-conscious about her appearance for the majority of her life. When she was 8 years old, she suddenly developed an unexplained darkening of the skin below her left eye. Virginia met with her family doctor, who suspected that she was anemic. Her doctor prescribed iron pills, but they were ineffective at treating the discoloration. Over the next few years, Virginia began to lose volume in the left side of her face, creating a noticeable sagging effect. She met with approximately 20 more doctors, but none were able to diagnose the cause of her condition.
At age 13, Virginia was referred to a plastic surgeon, who diagnosed her with Parry-Romberg syndrome. Also known as progressive hemifacial atrophy, Parry-Romberg syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by a gradual deterioration of the skin and soft tissues in half of the face. The disorder is more prevalent in females, and it typically presents between the ages of 5 and 15; however, the cause is unknown.
"Half of my face stopped growing, and the other half continued to grow and fill out," Virginia explains.
When Virginia was 16, she underwent a 15-hour reconstructive surgery that involved taking tissue and bone from her hip and grafting it onto the left side of her face. Over time, the bone and fat transplants degenerated as a result of her condition, which left her with a prominent bump on her forehead and a lump of fat that slid down and settled in her cheek.
"I pretty much gave up, because I kept going back and getting work done, and it just kept deteriorating," she says.
Today, Virginia covers the left side of her face with her bangs and applies heavy makeup to help conceal her condition. She hadn't seen a doctor about other treatment options in 12 years — until her older sister, Cecilia, reached out to The Doctors for help.
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60-Minute Smile Transformation
Dentist Dr. Michael Schneider, who performed Patti's smile makeover, says that anyone with healthy teeth and gums is a good candidate for the SmileSimplicity procedure. "We're doing constructive dentistry. I'm not drilling away sensitive tooth structure," he says. Dr. Schneider adds that the procedure is also reversible, since the underlying teeth are still intact.