First reconstructive surgery a success for Lessya Kotelevskaya, misdiagnosed with cancer in Kazakhstan

Published on November 15, 2013

The first reconstructive surgery for Lessya Kotelevskaya, who was misdiagnosed with cancer at age 19 in Kazakhstan and disfigured by treatments there she didn’t need, was a success.

UofL Physicians plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Jarrod Little performed the surgery to begin repairing the damage to her face and jaw on Nov. 14 at University of Louisville Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health.

“Everything went great,” said Little. “It couldn’t have went any better, and I’m extremely happy with it.”

The surgery started at 10:40 a.m. and lasted just over an hour, ending at 11:45. Lessya was awake and talking shortly thereafter. She left the hospital with her cousin, Oleg Sennik, around 1:30 p.m.

“Everybody was so wonderful. I want to thank Dr. Little and all the staff today, and (Lessya) does, too,” said Sennik, who brought her to the U.S. from Kazakhstan and translates for her.  “Everyone was so caring, and she didn’t even feel like she was in the hospital.

“Everything was fantastic, I couldn’t have imagined anything better and neither could she. Everyone was smiling and so nice, and was holding her hand. She felt like she was at home. “

To learn more about Lessya’s story, visit the UofL Physicians “Hope for Lessya” web page.