Selloane on her way to a fine head of hair

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Selloane Modise who went under the knife recently to have the scarred tissue on her head replaced with new skin.

Selloane Modise, the bubbly 12-year-old who sustained third-degree burns to her head, arms and hands in a shack fire when she was just one year old, could be well on her way to having a full head of hair in the not too distant future.
This after well-known surgeon Prof. Johannes Jooste and his team removed the scarred tissue and replaced it with “skin with hair” during a half an hour operation as part of the Universitas Hospital’s recent Smile Week.
In an article on 7 March 2019 Bloemfontein Courant wrote about Selloane who said her only wish was to have “nice hair”. Her journey since that fateful day when she was deformed in ta shack fire, hasn’t been an easy one. She often battled both physical and emotional trauma and has undergone a multitude of surgeries throughout her young life, including reconstructive surgery to her face, neck, scalp and left hand. She lost all her fingers in the blaze.
However, after the latest operation the “final leg” of her journey promises to have a happy ending. According to Lisa Kalk, media liaison officer of Smile Week, the operation went extremely well.
“It was a huge success as it had much more coverage of her skull. Selloane also reacted well to the operation. She was fine after she had slept off the anaesthetic medication. The next day she was up and about.
“The likelihood of her hair growing back is very high. But it is difficult to say how long it will take for her hair to grow back. This will depend on the child and the skin with hair follicles reattaching to the blood supply. In a previous similar surgery the process to cover the entire head took four years but the patient had less hair than Selloane to begin with,” said Kalk.
She, however, warned that there are certain measures that Selloane and her family will need to put in place to help ensure the success of the operation.
“Her family will need to ensure that the area remains infection clear and that it is not subjected to excessive activities which will damage the operated area.
“Selloane will also have to get a follow-up operation because not the entire head was covered with the flap from this tissue expander. The surgeons feel that there will a need for another tissue expander to be inserted to cover the entire area with hair,” added Kalk.
If the resilience that Selloane has shown up to now is anything to go by, the final stretch will be a walk in park for this young fighter. – Pieter Delport
pieterd@mahareng.co.za