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HENAN, China - She is just 28 years old, but you wouldn't believe that looking at her.
A young woman from Henan province, China made the headlines when she went on television to desperately plead for treatment for her condition that has caused her skin to sag and make her look like an old woman.
The Zhengzhou Evening News reported that the woman, surnamed Hu, had a happy marriage at age 21 and when she was 22 gave birth to a healthy boy in 2007.
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Soon after that, she discovered to her horror that her skin was becoming looser and looser. Six months later, she looked like a woman in her 60s.
"I never expected to become an old lady in just a couple of years," Hu said.
She sought medical help to no avail, as doctors who saw her were stumped and failed to provide her with an effective treatment.
According to reports, doctors said she has a rare disease, with just over a dozen cases reported worldwide. Unable to figure out what had caused the woman's medical condition, they said that only plastic surgery could help her.
She said she did not dare to look in the mirror, nor walk on the streets.
However, her condition did attract the attention of local media outlets, and eventually two television stations - Zhengzhou Evening News and Hunan Television - offered to help her advertise for a cure.
After Chinese media reported the story in January, several people asked for her to be given free medical help, resulting in several medical institutions offering her free surgery.
Going under the knife
She eventually chose a local plastic surgery institute. On Saturday, Ms Wu of Zhengzhou City People's Hospital said she met all conditions and that the surgery would be carried out on Sunday afternoon.
"I hope, in my dreams, that my face can match my real age," the woman said.
On Jan 20, she underwent a five-hour operation to reshape her face, neck and ears. In order to guarantee the surgery's success, noted cosmetic surgeons were invited from the Beijing Medical University.
According to Xinhua, the head doctor said the operation went very well and that the results should be satisfactory.
When the reporter went to visit her, her face was bandaged up and looked slightly swollen. The final results will have to wait until the swelling goes down, the report said.
Her face, neck and ears have been operated on, but she will have to wait a little longer to have her eyes done. This is because the swelling has made it difficult for the doctors to shape her eyes.
She is expected to receive further surgery on her eyes when the swelling subsides.