A woman was left disfigured and blind in one eye, after botched dermal fillers caused her face to swell up ‘like an alien’.
Carol Bryan, 54, from Florida had fillers in 2009, but they were injected into a part of her face they shouldn’t have been and her forehead swelled so much she had to tape her eyes open to see.
Corrective surgery made things worse, leaving her so ‘grossly disfigured’ that she lived as a recluse for more than three years and contemplated suicide.
Finally Dr. Reza Jarrahy from UCLA agreed to perform reconstructive surgery on Carol’s face and she is now campaigning to warn others of the dangers of seemingly harmless corrective procedures.
Appearing on the show The Doctors to speak about her transformation, Carol revealed it was the first time in six years that she had stepped out in public without sunglasses to cover her face.
‘When I was in my 20s and 30s people took notice of me. I was attractive. I felt confident,’ she said.
‘I started doing Botox in my 30s for the vertical lines between my eyes. It was amazing. It took years off my face.
‘There came a point in time where I felt I was losing some volume. I went for a consultation. I was persuaded to have fillers.’
Two types of filler were mixed in the same syringe, including silicone which is not recommended for use as a filler because it’s permanent and extremely difficult to remove if it migrates.
After three months, Carol started to notice her face ‘expanding and contracting’, and she didn’t recognise herself when she looked in the mirror.
‘I was not looking at Carol,’ she recalled. ‘My face was blowing up and my forehead began to protrude out like an alien.
‘My forehead was becoming so heavy it started to affect my ability to see. I began to have to tape my eyes open to walk.’
Carol underwent corrective procedures, but they just caused more damage.
‘They caused me to become grossly disfigured,’ she said. ‘I didn’t feel comfortable going in public and I actually secluded myself from all my friends and family for three-and-a-half years.
‘I felt like a monster. I wore hats and scarves and sunglasses all the time, hoping I would someday finally be able to look in the mirror again and recognise myself.’
Carol admits that she wasn’t sure how she would live the rest of her life in this way and even contemplated suicide.
Finally her daughter and sister intervened and began writing to teaching hospitals all over the US, begging for help.
She is now feeling more confident in her own skin after Dr Jaharry repaired some of the damage to her face.
But it involved many painful surgeries, including an operation to remove fat from Carol’s back and graft it on to her face to rebuild her forehead.
‘I’m extremely thankful for Dr Jahri who was the only doc in the coutnry who would take my case as it was unprecedented. Very high risk, unknown risk,’ she said.
‘I want to make sure this didn’t happen to me in vain. I will work tirelessly not to let this happen to anyone again.’
She is now campaigning with the organisation Face2Face healing for stricter regulation of cosmetic practitioners.