Jennifer Hiles with her AVMs pre-balloons (Image courtesy of Barcroft Media)
The idea of putting balloons under your skin might seem more than just ludicrous, but for one woman, it’s her only chance at living a comfortable life. The New York Post reported that a South Dakota woman named Jennifer Hiles suffers from a rare condition called Arterial Venous Malformation (AVM), which creates abnormal and tangled connections between the arteries and veins in the face while completely bypassing the capillary system.
As treatment, Hiles had saline-filled balloons inserted under the surface of her skin to help ease the pain of her condition. These balloons cause bulges along her face, which she admits has been a difficult obstacle within her personal life. “I just want to be able to spend all of my time with my kids without people looking at me and calling me names,” she told Barcroft Media in an interview. “I just want to not be shy and be who I am without worrying about what people will think.” In order to get rid of the balloons and remove the AVM entirely, Hiles is opting for corrective surgery to take out all the damaged tissue and rebuild her nose using bone from her ribs.
Jennifer with the balloons inserted (Image courtesy of Barcroft Media)
This kind of surgery is usually recommend for those with AVM if it’s in an area easily accessible to a surgeon and is at a high risk for a bleed. Since Jennifer Hiles’ had experienced this hemorrhaging when she was 11, this surgery is a necessary to prevent further bleeds. Arterial venous malformation only affects less than one percent of the population, but the cause of the condition is still unclear.
Symptoms of AVM vary in severity, however, common symptoms include seizures, localized pain in your head, dizziness, or difficulty with speech, movement or vision. Both computed tomography (CT) and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan can effectively diagnose AVM.