What are these facial growths (warning: gross picture)

I was browsing my favorite website (besides the Dope,) which is Rotten.Com. I stumbled across this picture of a guy with what look like huge festering boils or tumors growing all over his face. As usual, which annoys me to no end, there is no explanation at all for the image. It simply says, “Bad Face of Lisboa.”

Be warned, the picture is pretty gross. Here it is.

Now could someone with some medical knowlege tell me what that is? What sort of growth could grow that large without someone cutting it off in the early stages?

I’m pretty sure that’ a vascular birthmark (though they rarely get that bad). I saw a program on TV recently that featured a man in his late twenties who had a birthmark that looked exactly like the image you linked to.

As for why it was left to progress to that point, vascular birthmarks bleed – a lot – when cut. Trying to just cut it off (without adequate medical facilities and expert staff) would likely cause the guy to bleed to death. The patient I saw on TV was undergoing a very long series of treatments with a specialist to have his birthmark removed a little bit at a time, and from what I gathered from the program, not all vascular birthmarks are operable.

How does that guy even eat or drink or breathe with the birthmark covering his mouth or nose?

It probably doesn’t cover his mouth and nose – or not entirely, at any rate. If this is anything like the one I saw on TV, it’s probably localized to one side of the face (in this case, the side nearest the camera).

Geez, that’s as scary as the guy with so many blisters/sores his skin looks like bubble wrap!

This is why your mothers tell you, “If you pick it, it just gets worse” look what it did to that guy! :eek:

IAND, but my wag (based on a description by Oliver Sacks in “An anthopologist on Mars” I’d say Neurofibromatosis.

According to Sacks, this is supposed to be the same disease that disfigured the Elephant Man, John Merrick.

Fixed link to the story of the Elephant Man

Oh my God!

If that man is actually from Lisbon, I think I’ve seen him.

Looks like the same dude at any rate. I tried not to stare.

Looks like im not the only one watching that show tonight!!

I’ve seen neurofibromatosis (Type I and Type II von Recklinghaus) as well as vascular birthmarks. To me, this looks much more like the latter. I’ve never seen an actual case of Proteus syndrome (few doctors have), but if I recall correctly, it is typically manifests more as limb and other skeletal deformities and overgrowth of many soft and connective tissues. This guy looks fairly normal anatomically, aside from his facial deformity.

John Merrick, if he was a victim of Proteus Syndrome (in the modern sense)l, was an unusual case even for this rare disease. Proteus syndrome is, as the name implies, a syndrome. It has many associated symptoms and signs, which I’ve never heard associated with Merrick. However Proteus is highly variable in its expression, and too rare to characterize well. to be honest, until an underlying cause is isolated, I’d hesitate to call it a single syndrome, rather than blanket label, possibly often misapplied. This may be an overly modern view, based on recent advances in molecular biology that lead us to expect to learn exact mechanisms that, in my own lifetime, would have been considered unknowable, but hey, I was a molecular biologist before med school. It’s my bias

Of course, you can only make a guess without an exam or history, and even less from a photo. Still, it is important to note that there are only estimated to be 100-200 cases or Proteus Syndrome worldwide. Vascular birthmarks are a million times more common (albeit rarely this extensive).

I’m a layman, but, your post is exactly what i’d say…
Although i was unaware vascular birthmarks could be this severe, or were so common.

My first thought when i saw this picture was The Elephant Man. Second thought was a man i knew of with a massive goiter. It was on his neck, looked like a huge sack of golfballs protruding from his neck. To my knowledge, goiter is a lymph node disorder, and i dont beleive there’s enough limp nodes in the face to account for THIS guy though…correct me if i’m wrong…

Honestly the vascular mark didnt cross my mind…knew a girl growing up that had one that covered much of her body, about half her face, much like this man, but obviously NO WHERE NEAR the size of this…looked a bit more like a impact mark (whelt? that the right word), raised a little, a little puffy maybe…

I’d think Proteus syndrome would be out too, because what i Know of it, from a National Geographic show on the Elephant Man mind you, is pretty much the same as yours, that it causes structural deformities, which is something that Neurofibromitosis normally doesnt. Apparently John/Joseph Merrick had the classic bowed legs of a Proteus syndrom sufferer. I seem to remember the bone deformities of Mr Merrick are considered unusual for Neurofibromytosis…and this guy doesnt seem to have the deformed skull that Merrrick had…

BUt…i’m a layman…and, like YOU said, impossible to get a firm diagnosis without a detailed physical exam, blood/fluid samples, maybe a genetic test even, let alone from just a picture…still wanted to toss my 2 cents in…

A lot of zombies get these.

On my way home yesterday I saw a guy with this all over his nose,mouth,chin area. (The smaller versions on the guy in the pictures cheek) You couldnt even see the bottom half of his face. I still cant believe I saw someone with something this severe walking around Manhattan…

Before they lock up this thread, if this is who I think it is, his story was documented here.