Youssif squats at the edge of the lake at Balboa Park near Los Angeles, tentatively holding out bread for the ducks, his large dark eyes widening in delight and fear as it's snatched from his hands.
"Oooo! Look, there's a white one," the 5-year-old burned Iraqi boy shouts in Arabic, seemingly unaware that the front of his oversized Spider-Man sweatshirt is soaked in drool.
Youssif's latest surgery -- one that removed thick, hard scar tissue that stretched half a foot across his face -- has dramatically improved his appearance, allowing him to open his mouth to take large bites of food and helping him to finally be able to smile again.
It's also left him with a drooping lower lip, causing him to drool without knowing it. However, over time, his lip should be fine.
Dr. Peter Grossman, Youssif's lead surgeon, says his current lip problem is mainly due to two factors: tightness caused by the scar tissue across his lower chin and the new flap of skin pulling down on his face. Read full article »