I’m unrecognisable after surgery to fix my ‘elephant man’ face

A DAD who felt like “the elephant man” is now unrecognisable after facial surgery.

Alan Findlay, had been hiding away since he developed rhinophyma, a severe skin condition affecting the nose, but is now set to enjoy Christmas properly for the first time in years.


Alan Findlay looks unrecognisable after his facial surgeyCredit: Ever clinic/Media Scotland
The 56-year-old said he no longer feels like 'the elephant man'


The 56-year-old said he no longer feels like ‘the elephant man’Credit: Media Scotland
Alan says he is now looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his wife Rowan (right) and his extended family


Alan says he is now looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his wife Rowan (right) and his extended familyCredit: Media Scotland

The 56-year-old, from Dumbarton, Scotland, has always had the skin condition rosacea, a common condition which causes flushing and visible blood vessels on the face.

But on rare occasions it can develop into the more severe rhinophyma in which the skin thickens around the nose.

In Alan’s case the condition was extreme and, although it was disfiguring, NHS skin specialists were unwilling to do anything about it.

He was told there would be a lengthy waiting list for treatment because it was generally only done when it started to affect breathing and doctors were not confident they would be able to do much in the way of improvement.

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But now thanks to laser treatment at a specialist clinic in Glasgow, he has been “reintroduced to the human race again”.

Alan said: “It is an amazing transformation.

“When you compare the before and after, it is absolutely life changing for me.”

Alan Findlay’s confidence has improved hugely since treatment to his rhinophyma

Alan, who works for a lighting company, said: “I started to notice a difference in my nose round about 2018.

“Creases started to appear on the right hand side. Over the course of a year they got bigger.

“I knew I looked terrible because people were mentioning it. My social life became poor, I wasn’t really going out. I just didn’t feel confident.

“In my head I felt I was a bit like the elephant man. I more or less cut myself off.”

Alan said the way he looked had a real impact on his mental health.

He explained “I am not going to lie, it did affect me but it was still a struggle for my wife Rowan to get me to go to the clinic.”

“At Christmas last year I was particularly low.

“We generally go to my step-son’s on Christmas Day. I felt so self conscious I didn’t want to go. I just stayed home by myself.

“After the holidays there was a family conspiracy to get something done.”

Rowan searched the internet for answers and eventually found the Ever clinic which specialises in treating rhinophyma with lasers.

Dr Cormac Convery, who carried out the procedures, said Alan was “almost certainly the worst example we have seen”.

His condition was so bad the laser treatment had to be done in two sessions rather than just one and the doctor was unsure how good the result would be.

The first procedure was carried out in March, lasting around five hours, and the second two months later took a further two and a half hours.

Alan admitted: “When the procedure was over on the first day I looked in the mirror and I looked as if I had been looking for chips.

“My nose looked red raw but, as horrendous as that sounds, I felt better immediately. I felt more confident right away.”

Now having regained his enthusiasm for life thanks to the surgery, Alan was full of praise for the kindness, understanding and skill of the clinic.

He said: “I know it sounds trite, but they have given me my life back.

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“Christmas will be different this year, I have so much more confidence. I will be going out socialising.

“I am actually tired from going out, I have been making up for lost time.”

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