A young boy dubbed turtle boy in China is starting a new life after a giant shell of hard skin was removed from his back.
Maimaiti Hali, 8, underwent a miracle two-hour operation to cut away the huge mutated growth.
"We were told surgery wasn't possible when he was very young so we waited. But the growth got bigger and harder and became like a turtle shell,” Hali’s father said.
"People bullied him and we were determined to end it. He is such a good and brave boy and he never complained. We are so glad that he is now on the mend," he said.
Medics at Urumqi Military General Hospital say they have taken away the growth and replaced it with skin grafts from Hali's scalp and legs.
"The skin we removed was as thick as a bull's hide,” said Chief surgeon Ye Xiangpo. "We used scalp hair on the graft because it grows back very quickly. We expect him to make a full recovery."
"It was a bit painful, but I won't worry about other kids laughing at me any more,” Hali, of Heping, China said.
"I am looking forward to going out in the sun without my shirt on and to going swimming with my friends," he said.