Extraordinary People

2013 - Help! I'm 16 But Look 60

Help! I'm 16 But Look 60

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When she was a young girl, Tracey was diagnosed with lipodystrophy, a condition that makes her look much older than she really is. It can also have potentially serious side effects, including diabetes and blocked arteries - increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cirrhosis of the liver. Her daughter Zara inherited the same condition.

Tracey, Zara and her 17-year-old sister Chloe (who does not have the condition) all travel to Texas. Zara wants cosmetic surgery advice from internationally acclaimed surgeon Dr Robert Ersek in Austin, and Tracey hopes to get a diagnosis from specialist Dr Abhimanyu Garg at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Zara’s dream of having cosmetic surgery comes true when Dr Ersek agrees to perform a facelift on his youngest ever patient. However, the news about their medical condition is far from clear-cut. Dr Garg informs them that they do not in fact have lipodystrophy, but an even rarer genetic condition called cutis laxa.

This means that Tracey and Zara will not suffer the serious side effects of lipodystrophy, but cutis laxa is incurable and has serious medical implications of its own...

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