Thanks to her Batman birthmark, Luna Tavares-Fenner, a girl from Florida, turned into an Instagram sensation.
Her mother got the little girl's story out. In addition to drawing a lot of attention to the girl, this also helped set in motion the process of having the conspicuous birthmark removed.
Many people are shocked to see the girl's appearance without the famous mark.
A Girl Born With A Batman Birthmark
When Carol Fenner was pregnant with Luna, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The ultrasounds and scans showed that she had nothing to worry about.
Therefore, they did not expect their daughter to be any different from other kids. Nonetheless, they were in for a huge shock.
Luna had a massive birthmark that covered a large part of her face, including her forehead, nose, eyelids, and cheeks. People quickly noted that it seemed like the girl was wearing a batman mask.
Although she got used to her daughter's unique appearance over time, Carol was shocked after she was born.
It turned out that Luna suffered from a skin condition known as Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus.
More About Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus
Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus, or GCMN, is like a mole someone is born with. The only difference is that this mole is large, hence the tag "giant."
The affected area ends up having a very dark color. It also has a different texture than the rest of the skin.
The condition develops while the infant is still in the uterus. For GCMN to occur, many pigment-producing cells group together rather than spreading throughout the skin.
The condition occurs once in every 20,000 births, and they start developing from about 5 to 24 weeks. Generally, the earlier the condition develops, the larger the affected area will be.
Additionally, they can change over time and get smaller or larger as time passes. However, in most cases, with this condition, they get bigger as time goes by.
In most cases, the condition is harmless. However, they have an increased risk of cancer, especially when they are big.
Removing them does not lower the cancer risk they bring, but they can offer some slight help.
Additionally, the condition looks bizarre and can result in malignant degeneration. They can end up causing malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
How GCMN Is Treated
Treatment options for GCMN vary depending on how big the affected area is and how old the child is.
Dermabrasion is used in the first six weeks of life. In this case, a wire brush or diamond wheel removes the skin layers.
The process does not eliminate the condition, but it can improve the patient's appearance. Unfortunately, dermabrasion can also leave behind some scars.
Skin curettage is also an option, whereby the top layers of the skin are scraped away. As with dermabrasion, this should also happen during the first six weeks of life.
A tangential excision is also an option. During this process, a blade is used to cut off the top layers of the skin.
This technique does not remove the condition altogether, and scars might be left behind. However, this intervention can make the problem less conspicuous.
Chemical peels are also used to deal with GCMN. This can improve appearance.
Usually, phenol and trichloroacetic acid are used to conduct the chemical peels.
In the United States, Luna did not get a lot of treatment options. This left her parents confused as to the best option to take.
They were keen to have the problem taken care of before she started school so that other kids would not tease her. As a result, they consulted many doctors throughout the country.
Eventually, she shared the girl's story on Instagram.
After sharing her story on Instagram, Luna's mom got many followers. In the end, a Russian doctor reached out.
Pavel Popov is a laser and cancer specialist with over two decades of experience. He has also done more than 1,000 surgeries.
The doctor informed Luna's family that they had a procedure in Russia which was relatively new and still not available in the United States. The treatment method is known as photodynamic therapy.
Another benefit of the procedure would be that it would be much faster than any other options they would have gone with back in the United States.
Through GoFundMe, the family managed to raise almost $70,000. Their goal was to get $150,000.
Fortunately, the money they got was enough to get the process of having their girl treated going.
Luna and her family have been through some tough times. She has been through many surgeries and is often left with her face completely bandaged.
However, the girl is just as happy as can be expected of any child her age. Dr. Popov was able to get rid of the huge mark on her face.
Already, Luna is speaking and now realizes that her black spot has disappeared.
After she has been through all the surgeries, she will go back to the United States. The last of her operations are still healing, and she will have a final cosmetic surgery during the new year.
People still support the family as they try to cover the costs of all the surgeries Luna has undergone. She will also need money to handle her recovery.