High heels heaven...

A Kettering woman has bought her first ever pair of high heels at the age of 34 after having surgery to remove a huge lump on her foot.

Lorraine Walker was born with a neurofibroma, a benign tumour, on her foot, which grew to the size of a football.

The 34 year old was told her lower leg might have to be amputated as doctors feared they couldn't do anything to help because of the blood vessels.

But, after twenty years of wearing trainers and dealing with the pain, Lorraine decided to go and see another doctor at Leicester Royal Infirmary who told her he could remove the lump.

Lorraine Walker's foot before surgeryLorraine Walker's foot after surgery

Lorraine said: "I was 18 months old when my mum first took me to hospital with the fibroma and found out nothing could be done to remove it because of the blood vessels. Then when I was 15 and having a regular check-up, I was told my leg could be amputated below the knee to get rid of the fibroma. I didn't want that so made the decision to live with it.

"Over the years the growth got bigger and more painful. The pain became so bad; I ended up going to my GP and was referred to Mr Offer at the Royal.

He told me straight away that he'd definitely be able to help me which was music to my ears.
"I could see the difference straight away after the surgery and it was so nice to see my foot looking normal. For me the biggest thing was to be able to feel girly and not have to wear clumpy trainers any more. “

Mr Graham Offer, consultant plastic surgeon, said: "Lorraine’s case is very unusual, large neurofibromas in this position are rare. They can run in families where patients have a condition called neurofibromatosis.

When small they are usually easier to remove. However, when they are the larger form, like in Lorraine’s case, they can wrap themselves around major blood vessels and nerves making their removal challenging or impossible.

Consequently, the patient ends up having to live with the deformity and the symptoms which can vary depending on where it is.
“This was quite a tricky operation. The two main problems were bleeding and risk of damage to the nerves and blood supply to the foot.

The procedure took five and a half hours. We used a tourniquet around the thigh for part of the operation, to decrease the bleeding and I took my time to dissect out all the main nerves, vessels, tendons, etc. so that none were damaged."