'Botched' Patient Is Growing Pubic Hair on Her Face After Doctors Used Crotch Skin to Fix Dog Bite
As if being bit by a dog wasn't bad enough.
As a result of a childhood dog bite years ago, doctors used a skin graft from Crystal Coombs’ groin to repair a patch of her face. Now, she is growing “literal pubic hair” from it.
In a preview of Monday’s episode of Botched, Combs describes the traumatic injury that left her face disfigured at the age of nine.
“All I remember is black,” Coombs says in the clip about the pit bull biting a chunk of tissue out of her face. She was immediately rushed to the ER, where doctors instructed her to see a plastic surgeon to ensure the best outcome and have the wound repaired.
“It was open for a while,” she says. “Like how the outside of Freddie Kruger’s face looks, with the burn? That’s what the inside looked like.”
It was the plastic surgeon who “suggested the skin graft, [and to] take it from the groin. They did the surgery, and then the hair started growing.”
“So you were getting pubic hair on your face?” Botched surgical star Paul Nassif, MD, asks her.
“Yes. Literal pubic hair,” she responds. “I don’t believe that the doctor mentioned I would grow pubic hair out of my [skin] patch. I don’t remember that.”
Terry Dubrow, MD, Botched's other star surgeon, then explained that it's unusual for a doctor to do a skin graft using skin from the crotch or groin area. “It’s interesting why they chose it from the groin, because there’s so many places,” he says. “They could’ve done the back, the abdomen. You obviously wouldn’t do the armpits.”
Coombs opted to leave the pubic hair patch as it was for several years. However, now she's a new mom, and she doesn’t want her appearance to have a negative effect on her child's life.
“I, at first, thought it didn’t affect me. Since having my daughter, I really started to get conscious of it,” she says. “She’s six months, and I’m worried about the kids she’ll go to school with … I don’t want her to be teased.”
Her request to the Botched doctors is to replace her facial patch, making it “as small and minimal as possible.” However, the procedure could jeopardize the structure of her face.
“We’re a little amazed that you could have that large of a chunk taken out of an area where there’s so many facial nerve branches,” says Dr. Dubrow. “This is expertly done reconstruction.”
“Crystal’s case is actually deceptively very complicated,” he adds in an interview. “That skin graft is very close to critical anatomic structures like the nose, the cheeks, and the eye, that if altered, even a little bit, can change the entire shape of the face, and look very deformed.”
Phillip R. Langsdon, MD, facial plastic surgeon and immediate past president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), does not consider this a “botched” surgery. (Dr. Langsdon is not involved in Coombs' case.)
"While it is easy for a patient to come to quick judgement, I would not second guess a doctor who did excellent work in restoring a very complicated injury,” he tells Health. “There are many other issues that the doctor must deal with that patients don't often understand.”
Dr. Langsdon adds that while hair removal is relatively easy, reconstruction is not.
“Skin from that area of the body is certainly a credible option for many reasons,” he explains. “Could the graft come from other regions, yes, but there are consequences such as scarring and contraction, variations in skin thickness that must be considered. Plus, anytime skin is transferred or operated upon in patients of color it is realistic to expect some hyper (extra) pigmentation that is unavoidable; this can be treated.”
Tune in to E! tonight at 10 p.m. EST to see the entire episode.
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