An eight-year-old Chinese lad known as the turtle boy underwent surgery in early June to have a shell-like patch of hard skin extracted from his back.
Maimaiti Hali, 8, is a normal boy, except that his back is covered in a shell-like growth reminiscent of a ninja turtle. It’s hard to hide such an anomaly, which is why Hali quickly earned the nickname ‘Turtle Boy’ from his school peers.
“People bullied him,” Hali’s father, Maimaiti Musai, told The Sun. “We were told surgery wasn’t possible when he was very young so we waited. But the growth got bigger and harder and became like a turtle shell.”
After a long wait, Hali’s family finally submitted him to the Urumqi Military General Hospital, where he underwent a two-hour operation in which the growth was removed and then replaced with skin grafts from his scalp and legs.
“We used scalp hair on the graft because it grows back very quickly,” said Chief surgeon Ye Xiangpo.
When questioned by reporters, an enthusiastic Maimaiti replied, “It was a bit painful, but I won’t worry about other kids laughing at me any more.”
He added, “I am looking forward to going out in the sun without my shirt on and to going swimming with my friends.”