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Doctors have changed the life of a man born with nine toes on one foot after performing rare surgery.
The 21-year-old's superstitious parents always believed his deformity made him 'lucky', and so he lived with them until now.
Although the man, named only as 'Ajun', didn't quite agree, having never asked a girl out on a date through fear of being rejected because of his extra piggies.
The patient, from Lufeng City in South China's Guangdong Province, had the four extra toes on his left foot, causing him so much shame through his life that he stopped wearing sandals when he was just 10 years old.
Ajun said his parents were immediately aware of his condition as soon as he was born, but they didn't want doctors to operate on him.
Instead, his family went to a fortune-teller for advice, thinking that his extra toes were 'a gift from the heavens' which should not be removed.
He said: "They were superstitious, so they didn't deal with it. They thought if it really looked too bad, I could just cover it with my shoes."
Not content with the thought that his toes were a gift from God, he went to a medical professional for advice.
His doctor, Wu Xiang, said: "It's very rare to see such a serious deformity having not been treated in a 21-year-old patient."
Doctor Wu added: "Other hospitals would've just removed his outermost extra toes. That would've been the easiest solution, but it wouldn't look the best.
"His most natural looking toe is on the outside, so we decided to migrate it inwards to its most ideal position, replacing his fifth digit and creating a new big toe."
The team at the hospital spent nine hours in surgery creating Ajun's new left foot, with the young man saying he was more than pleased with the results.
He said: "I stopped wearing sandals outside since my third year of primary school. I've never had a girlfriend because I'm so imperfect. I never thought I'd find anyone who wants to be with me.
"Now I feel great. I'm very grateful to Doctor Wu Xiang. I think my foot is perfect. He showed me pictures of my foot after surgery, and I'm very happy."
Ajun is continuing his recovery at the hospital and is expected to be discharged in the coming weeks.
Doctor Wu said: "For children born with deformities, it's best for them to be examined three months after birth.
"Surgery can happen as early as one year old, but no later than six years old. Basically any time before they start school is fine.
"This is better for the child's psychological well-being, but earlier operations also lead to better recovery results."
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