Life Saving Surgeries Performed On Moroccan Teen With 'Ticking Time Bomb' On Face

First Posted: Dec 22, 2015 11:56 AM EST

Eighteen-year-old Zoubir Lahdodi of Morocco suffered from a severe venous malformation that caused blood vessels in his face to dilate--disfiguring his face and making it increasingly difficult for him to do everyday things like eat, talk, sleep and even breath.

Health officials referred to his problem as a "ticking time bomb," in which they needed to perform seven life-saving surgeries to correct the problem, according to Fox News.

"Most physicians shy away from doing these types of procedures," Dr. Milton Waner at North Shore-LIJ Health System Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side, said via CBS News. "They are very, very, very difficult - and nervewracking." 

Just eight months ago, Lahdodi's family contacted the doctor via email--asking for help. Waner, who has helped treat patients with venous malformations before, began making travel arrangements to bring Zoubir to New York. With the help of charity, the procedures were covered.

Venous malformation is linked to a genetic abnormality that occurs in utero. However, it is not an inherited condition, health officials say.

"These are genetic abnormalities, and we've identified some of the genes associated with venous malformation but not all of them," Waner said. "It's clearly a genetic abnormality, but the abnormal gene was not throughout his entire body--only in a certain region of the face."

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