A grandmother's 16-hour facial reconstruction to repair her face following a life-long disease has been successful.

Christine Brown returned home to Invercargill from Dunedin Hospital on Wednesday after recovering in intensive care from surgery last Tuesday.

Born with neurofibromatosis, a disease which causes tumours to grow on nerves in the body, the grandmother was bullied most of her life because of her unusual looks.

The right side of her face use to drop under the weight of the tumours which caused disfiguration of her face.

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Her husband of 32 years, Lee Brown, told the Southland Times his wife will be extremely happy once she sees what surgeons have done to reconstruct her face.

"They have done a really, really good job, eh.

"I said to the nurse, they have done a bloody great job, a marvellous job."

The Invercargill resident underwent a 16-hour face reconstruction in a Dunedin Hospital last week. Photo / Christine Brown
The Invercargill resident underwent a 16-hour face reconstruction in a Dunedin Hospital last week. Photo / Christine Brown

Now, Brown will no longer suffer from a droopy face and she will regain full use of her right eyelid.

Surgeons took a 11cm piece of bone from her leg to craft into a cheekbone. She will also be able to hear from her left ear for the first time.

Christine Brown was bullied for most of her life because of her unusual looks and 'droopy' face.
Christine Brown was bullied for most of her life because of her unusual looks and 'droopy' face.

They also removed a tumour from Brown's eye during the procedure.

Dr Matthew Leaper, who operated on Brown along with two other surgeons, told Fairfax it was one of the most difficult procedures of her career.

A CT scan shows how much of Christine Brown's face is missing, including part of her jaw. Photo / Christine Brown
A CT scan shows how much of Christine Brown's face is missing, including part of her jaw. Photo / Christine Brown

He explained that the main goal was to correct some of the facial deformities.

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"It all looks quite stable. It's a long road ahead but I am optimistic."

"She's looking good, actually. It's surprising when you see the difference, golly, it's nice."

The Otago Daily Times reported it to be Brown's eighteenth surgery on her face.

Since recovering in hospital, Brown has reportedly seen herself in the mirror and is "pleased with what they have achieved".

Brown is also a cancer survivor and defied the odds when she was given 15 months to live after a neurofibroma turned aggressively cancerous.

A GiveALittle campaign was started to help pay for some of Brown's surgery and has so far raised more than $8300.