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A New Beginning: Maria’s Liberation from 17 Years of Silent Suffering

Published on December 6, 2023. Last Updated on December 6, 2023.

In medicine, few stories encapsulate the essence of perseverance, resilience, and the transformative power of skilled medical intervention as profoundly as Maria’s journey under my care. AKN rarely affects women; Maria is one of the few who was dealt the unlucky card. But Maria’s story doesn’t stop there.

Today, I am honored to share this remarkable testament to the unwavering human spirit and the impact modern medicine and empathy can have on a patient’s life.

The Beginning of Maria’s Struggle

Maria’s health issues began innocently enough, with what appeared to be dandruff and flaking. Believing it to be a manageable problem, she turned to medicated shampoos to find relief. However, as her condition worsened and her scalp began oozing pus, Maria faced a difficult choice – she had to stop breastfeeding her newborn son due to the prescription of antibiotics.

Maria’s scalp lesion kept growing and started oozing puss.
AKN in women: Maria’s scalp lesion kept growing and started oozing puss.

The Misdiagnosis

When the lesions on her scalp grew larger, Maria was told she had lupus and began a rigorous treatment plan involving strong medications. Two years later, she received the shocking revelation that she had been misdiagnosed.

The news engulfed Maria in frustration and a sense of hopelessness. The prolonged journey of ineffective treatments had taken a toll on her physical and emotional well-being, intensifying the challenges she faced in regaining control of her health.

Meanwhile, the bump on her head continued to grow, and the medications intended to help only weakened her immune system, leaving her physically drained.

Years of Searching for Answers

Maria endured 20 specialists and 17 years of uncertainty and suffering as she sought a correct diagnosis for her condition. The toll on her physical and emotional well-being was immeasurable. It affected not only her but also her children, who witnessed their mother in constant pain and discomfort. They found themselves taking on caretaker roles at a young age.

The Turning Point: The Discovery and Intervention

Finally, Maria’s journey led her to my clinic, where a thorough examination identified the bump on her head as an (Acne Keloidalis Nuchae) AKN lesion. Considering that AKN seldom impacts women, Maria’s situation appeared to be exceptional. Treating unique cases poses greater challenges due to the scarcity of reference points.

Recognizing the gravity of her situation, I extended an invitation for surgery in my private clinic – an offer she graciously accepted, marking a pivotal moment in her path to recovery.

Athena to the Rescue

To permanently remove the AKN, I utilized my bat excision method, a surgical approach designed for optimal wound closure with secondary intention healing (SIH). Given the relatively larger height of Maria’s plaque, I employed my patented Athena sutures, designed specifically to assist with SIH.

The Athena suture guard kit (named after my beloved late dog Athena) assists with secondary intention healing after the AKN surgery.
The Athena suture guard kit (named after my beloved late dog Athena) assists with secondary intention healing after the AKN surgery.

A New Lease on Life

A year post-surgery, Maria reflects on her remarkable transformation. Free from the burden of pain and discomfort, as her AKN has not returned since the surgery, Maria is now leading a tumor and pain-free life.

“God has plans for each one of us, and he put Dr. Umar in my path like an angel. He has given me a new chance at life, a life without pain”, she says.

Maria’s AKN removal results 11 months post-surgery. *
Maria’s AKN removal results 11 months post-surgery. *

Maria’s Gratitude

Maria’s gratitude knows no bounds, as she acknowledges the surgery’s positive impact on her and her children’s lives. The indescribable relief she feels is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the healthcare profession, and I am humbled to have played a role in her journey to recovery.

Maria, pictured with Dr. Umar. She’s grateful to live AKN-free now. 
Maria, pictured with Dr. Umar. She’s grateful to live AKN-free now.

Conclusion

Maria’s story is a beacon of hope for those grappling with undiagnosed conditions. It underscores the importance of perseverance and the potential for transformative healing when a patient and a dedicated healthcare professional come together. I am delighted to have been part of Maria’s triumph over adversity, and her journey serves as a reminder of the profound impact we, as healthcare providers, can have on the lives of those under our care.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I know if I have AKN?

If you suspect Acne Keloidalis Nuchae (AKN), consult a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment. Common signs include firm bumps, itching, inflammation, and keloid-like scars on the neck or scalp.

AKN predominantly affects men of African and Hispanic descent but can also occur in white men and rarely in women, as you saw in this article.

Seek professional help for an accurate diagnosis and follow recommended treatments, such as medications or laser therapy, to manage AKN effectively. Avoid self-diagnosis and treatment, as proper medical guidance is essential.

I had an AKN removal surgery, but the bump is back. What can I do?

While surgical removal is the most effective method for treating Acne Keloidalis Nuchae (AKN) lesions, it’s important to note that AKN can be a stubborn condition with a tendency to recur. Despite successful removal, there’s no guarantee that the bumps won’t return later in life.

For optimal results, consult a skilled surgeon specifically experienced in AKN removal for the best chance of long-term success.

References

Lupus (no date) Mayo Clinic. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lupus/symptoms-causes/syc-20365789 (Accessed: 04 December 2023).

Umar, S. (2019) Is Dandruff – Seborrheic Dermatitis, A Cause of Hair Loss and Poor Hair Transplant Outcomes?, dru.com. Available at: https://dru.com/is-dandruff-seborrheic-dermatitis-a-cause-of-hair-loss-and-poor-hair-transplant-outcomes/ (Accessed: 04 December 2023).

Umar, S. et al. (2019) Innovative Surgical Approaches and selection criteria of large acne Keloidalis nuchae lesions, Plastic and reconstructive surgery. Global open. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6571336/ (Accessed: 04 December 2023).

Further Reading

Multiple Large AKN Bumps Removal: AKN Surgery Success Before & After Results

AKN Removal Results Los Angeles: Another Successful Case by The Bumpinator