A man who had spent most of his life hiding his severely disfigured nose with a face mask has undergone miracle surgery to live happily again in time for Christmas.
Conrado Estrada spent years having trouble eating and breathing due to a rare condition that made the tip of his nose grow to an incredible size.
The 57-year-old painter and construction labourer said people would "stare" at him and "children would ask their mothers what happened" to him.
"They would stare at me," the Portchester, NY resident told The New York Post.
"Children would ask their mothers what happened to me — and I would get around it by using a face mask all the time."
As well as feeling self-conscious about his large feature, the oversized nose also obstructed his speaking, caused snoring and massively got in the way of day to day tasks.
"It had reached my lips and whenever I took a bite when I ate that would touch the spoon," he said.
But after meeting plastic surgeon Dr Thomas Romo, director of facial plastic reconstructive surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, his life changed.
"This was a bad one," Romo told The Post.
It appeared he had "a penis on his nose," according to Romo’s description.
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He went on: "It was a smouldering infection… and it would have just kept going.
"I don’t mind telling people what I think," Romo admitted.
The plastic surgeon claimed that if he hadn't treated the infection "it would have just kept going".
People with the condition have thickened, pimpled and pitted skin at the tip of the nose due to enlarged sebaceous (oil) glands.
The cause of the condition is still unknown.
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"I had spent six years seeing doctors and skin specialists and nothing would get better," said Estrada.
Confidence in an individual makes "a better and more productive person in society," said Romo.
"I’m doing everything I can to help my community. I want this community to flourish."
Estrada said the reaction from loved ones has been "enormous".
He told The Post: "I believe God sent an angel to take care of me – and that’s how I see Dr Romo."
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