Local doctors give 'Little Mo' a new outlook

Several reconstructive surgeries help young Iranian boy live a normal life

Local doctors are reconstructing the face of an 11-year-old Iranian boy who was born with severe facial deformities so he can live the life of an average boy.

On Thursday, July 8, Mohammad Karimi, or Little Mo as medical staffers call him, will undergo his 19th reconstructive surgery at Ellis Health Care Center in Schenectady. The surgery will continue to build, shape and refine the tip of his nose and nostrils from skin and cartilage in his ear. Also, an attempt will be made to broaden Mo's single internal nasal passage to allow for easier breathing.

Mohammad's congenital facial deformity is extremely rare, with only 10-12 documented cases worldwide. In 2003, Mohammad started a series of surgeries in Binghamton before coming to Schenectady.

Mohammad arrived in this country is thanks to Amsterdam Rotary's The Gift of Life Program. This allowed him and his mother to travel back and forth from Iran for surgeries.

Dr. Mohammad Rad, a maxillofacial surgeon in Amsterdam, hosts Little Mo and his mother at his home. Recently, Little Mo graduated from McNulty Academy Elementary School and Rad said he is at the top of his class in math and has many friends. In the fall Mohammad is planning to attend Wilbur Lynch Middle School.

During the previous surgeries in Binghamton, Rad was also involved.

"The goal from Day One of the first surgery has been to do everything in our power to make Mohammad's face whole," said Rad.

In Iran, when children have deformities similar to Mohammad's, they are often not exposed to the public and hidden away at home, said Rad.

Dr. Lucie Capek, a Latham plastic and reconstructive surgeon, will perform the surgery on Mohammad at Ellis Health Center. She has performed the last four procedures.

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