Acid burn victim gets relief thanks to surgery

2015-10-16 08:24
Nurses at Netcare Linksfield hospital tend to acid burn victim Ines Antonio after her operation. (Supplied, Debbie Yazbek)

Nurses at Netcare Linksfield hospital tend to acid burn victim Ines Antonio after her operation. (Supplied, Debbie Yazbek)

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Johannesburg – Since her former boyfriend threw acid over her nearly a year ago, Ines Antonio can hardly sleep at night because of the pain.

She struggles to get up, to shower and dress herself. Even chewing is painful. The severe chemical burns caused the skin under both arms, on her neck and lower lip to contract, reducing and making any movement painful.

"I am awake for most of the night because of the pain. This has become my life," Antonio was quoted as saying in a statement.

On Tuesday, she underwent the first of two operations at Netcare Linksfield Hospital to help restore some of her movement.

Incisions were made on her armpits and her own skin used as flaps to release the tension, plastic surgeon Gabriel Doucas said in a statement issued on behalf of the hospital group.

A similar procedure was performed on her neck.

"Additionally, it will decrease the pulling on her lower lip and chin, allowing her to close her mouth more easily without disfigurement," Doucas said.

Antonio had also asked Doucas to fix her right nostril, which the acid burn considerably narrowed.

An advanced skin substitute material called Integra was used to cover the neck incision. It consists of two layers, an inner one of fibres that integrate with the body, and an outer silicone film.

Plastic surgeon Gabriel Doucas tends to acid burn victim Ines Antonio after her operation. (Supplied, Debbie Yazbek)

‘So grateful’

This silicone film will be removed and replaced with healthy skin taken from other areas of Antonio’s body in a second procedure in the following weeks.

"I am so excited to think I will be able to do things again and I am praying that my pain can be reduced. I am so grateful for this help," Antonio said.

Jan Pieterse, 39, allegedly threw acid over Antonio outside her house in Sydenham, Johannesburg, in November 2014. The couple’s 4-year-old daughter sustained minor burns. This was the culmination of a spate of alleged abuse that began after she broke up with him and refused to have an abortion.

Pieterse is currently facing a charge of attempted murder in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

He has been denied bail. The court previously rejected his attempt to stop journalists from taking photos of him.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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