Dr Mckinnion treats children with neurofibromatosis at FV

At the start of the year, Professor Dr McKay McKinnon, one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons, came to Vietnam and worked with doctors at FV Hospital to achieve an absolute miracle. He successfully performed major surgery on a 15-year-old patient who was suffering from an extremely dangerous neurofibromatosis disease.


Born in a farming family in a small district in An Giang province, patient Truong Thien Nhan succumbed to this serious condition suddenly on his left eye when he was just 1 year old. His family brought him to the Ho Chi Minh City for examination and Thien Nhan was diagnosed with cancer, and subsequently needed to have surgery to remove the tumour. Not long after the operation however, the tumour suddenly developed again, even larger than before, and caused his vision to reduce significantly. If not treated promptly, the condition would likely lead to blindness. The family worked hard to gather the necessary funds to find treatment for Thien Nhan. This time, the tumour was diagnosed as a nerve fiber and was removed for the second time. The doctors used a sling to hang the eyelid to help him see. Despite these best efforts, unfortunately, after only a few months the tumour returned and grew so large that he could not see, like a piece of meat weighing the eyelids down, the tumour blocked his vision.

More than 10 years passed, as the family continuously tried their best to seek treatment for Thien Nhan. However, all doctors they approached time after time said they were unable to help. Thien Nhan’s condition was classified as a very difficult case, because the butterfly bone in the eye socket had a defect that made the upper part of the brain not supported, and as a result there was a risk of overflowing, causing nerve compression and serious pain. Thien Nhan’s vision had decreased so much that he struggled to see within even a metre, subsequently his education suffered considerably.


When Thien Nhan visited FV Hospital, the doctors identified his disease as a very difficult case. He had congenital neurofibromatosis, and a defective butterfly bone, so Thien Nhan was at risk of eye atrophy and blindness if early surgery was not administered.

Fortunately, Thien Nhan met Professor Dr McKay McKinnon, known for his ‘golden hands” in the field of dealing with rare and complicated cases, such as tumours. On the 17th of January 2019, due the complex nature of the operation in hand, Dr McKay McKinnon collaborated with FV’s doctor, Dr Vu Anh Le, an Ophthalmologist.

The surgery lasted up to 5 hours dealing with numerous issues related to ophthalmology, Maxillofacial, Oncology, Neurology and Plastic Surgery. Dr McKinnon completely removed the fibrous tumour, using a layer of titanium skull bone to block the gap between the brain and the butterfly bone, adjusting the narrowing of the eye socket and cheekbones, cutting the drooping eyelid to lift the eye muscles, and improving the aesthetics of Thien Nhan’s face.

For Dr McKinnon, the treatment not only addressed the medical problem but also the psychological concerns of the child especially the difficulties he would have faced integrating with his peers. The elimination of this life changing condition helped Thien Nhan to get a better quality of life after recovery.

Thanks to the coordination of talented doctors and the modern equipment at FV Hospital, the surgery was successful. Just 10 days following the operation, Thien Nhan was able to go home from hospital to start a new and more pleasant life that he had not had before.

Truong Thien Nhan’s neurofibromatosis surgery was funded entirely by the Children of Vietnam Charitable Fund – organised and sponsored by FV Hospital since 2006.

The cost for the entire treatment was more than 76 million VND, including the cost of surgery, post-operation care, travel expenses, accommodation and follow-up until the patient had fully recovered.

Contact Children of Vietnam Charitable Fund for more information – 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Phu My Hung, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City. Hotline: 090 906 7718 (Zalo, viber). Or website:

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