She’s only 5-years-old, but little Juliana Wetmore has already undergone 27 surgeries to reconstruct her face, and she’s getting ready for another operation in Miami, Fla., next month, firstcoastnews.com reported.
The 5-year-old was born with a very rare genetic disease called Treacher Collins syndrome which affects the development of bones and other tissues in the face.
The signs and symptoms of the disorder vary greatly, ranging from minor to severe. Most people who have the disease have underdeveloped facial bones and a very small jaw line, according to the National Institutes of Health.
In Juliana’s case, she was born missing more than half the bones in her face. Doctors say she's the most extreme case on record in the world, the Web site reported.
But, this extreme disease is not getting Juliana down. She's getting ready for kindergarten and doctors told firstcoastnews.com she’s at least at a level of normal intelligence, maybe even beyond.
Her parents, Thom and Tami Wetmore have many aspirations for their daughter and hope surgeons can eventually configure her jaw in a way that her tongue will be inside her mouth.
Treacher Collins syndrome affects an estimated one in 50,000 people, the NIH reported on its Web site.