Little Luna Tavares-Fenner was born with a disfiguring birthmark that covered most of her face, but doctors in Russia have used pioneering techniques to fix the problem
Doctors in Russia have used pioneering new methods to safely remove a “Batman mask” birthmark from a two-year-old Florida girl.
The huge nevus birth mark that covered most of little Luna Tavares-Fenner’s face has been removed, the medics say.
Luna has made regular trips with her mother to Russia for more than two years to receive medical treatment – photodynamic therapy – not available in the US.
At one point the treatments had to be put on hold because of visa issues.
But now, after flying home for Christmas, she will return to Russia in the New Year for one final round of cosmetic treatment.
Speaking to East2West News, Dr Pavel Popov, one of the medical team who treated the two-year-old, said: “Luna has already started speaking and she says herself: ‘My black spot has gone. I am a princess’.”
Luna’s surgery was carried out in a clinic in Krasnodar – a Russian city close to Ukraine
Her treatment coincided with tensions between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the Covid-19 crisis, but Luna and her mother Carol Fenner, 37, managed to keep returning so the girl could receive the groundbreaking treatment.
And there has been a positive result from the Russian medical treatment which has medics say has prevented possible skin cancer for the toddler.
“We only had six operations to remove the nevus and have succeeded in making it disappear,” explained Dr Popov.
“The main medical part of the task is done. This does not mean that we have finished treatment at all – we are letting Luna rest from the treatment she has undergone and then we will undertake the aesthetic surgeries.
“Later we aim to make sure Luna will not have any complexes when she comes to the age where she is concerned about her appearance.”
Dr Popov had no hesitation in describing the treatment as a “success”.
“I am completely satisfied with the result of the surgery,” he said. “Luna is very loyal to us. Often there is an aversion to the medical staff… children are afraid of doctors.
“But Luna brings her dolls to the appointment every time – and asks me to treat their faces, “I attach a plaster to the doll’s face, and Luna is happy that the doll is also treated.
“I can’t tell you how long the cosmetic part of Luna’s treatment will take,” he says, “it depends on too many factors – pandemics, lockdowns, visas.” But he is sure it will bring great results for Luna.
Luna’s mum said she was grateful for the treatment not involving invasive and “aggressive” surgery, which would have been the case elsewhere.
“Luna is good now,” she said, “her bandages are off.
“We’re going to fly away for Christmas and come back for the final cosmetic surgeries at the end of January.
“I don’t regret at all having the treatment here.
“Luna doesn’t feel the pain, she dances a few hours after the surgery.”
Carolina, a US citizen originally from Brazil, says she is “really happy” and speaks to other mothers receiving different treatments in the US.
“I spoke to a lot of mothers doing traditional surgeries in the US and they are more susceptible to infections.
“The kids stay in hospital a long time, and undergo general anaesthetics.
“Multiple anaesthetics would have demolished Luna’s physical and mental health – she had only had a local.”
Carol and her husband Thiago Tavares, 33, raised tens of thousands of dollars for their daughter’s treatment in Krasnodar and also had the support of an anonymous Russian donor which they described as “a miracle”.