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US Surgeons Remove Little Girl's Large Facial Tumor

Update Date: Jan 26, 2017 08:10 AM EST

Louisiana doctors removed a 5-pound facial tumor from a 3-year-old Brazilian girl in December. Melyssa Delgado Braga, together with her family, all went to the U.S. for the surgery.

Dr. Celso Palmieri Jr., professor at the Louisiana State University read Melyssa's story from a Brazilian news site. Her parents sought help through social media in order to get their daughter to the U.S. for treatment.

"As I was reading more about her story, I realized our department could probably help her, and particularly Dr. Ghali and his department," Palmieri said.

Dr. G.E. Ghali, chairman of LSU health then collaborated with a nonprofit health care organization in Shreveport called Willis-Knighton Health System. They are known for hosting international patients, supporting rare surgeries, and even provided for the housing and hospital cost of the family. Melyssa arrived in the U.S. a month later for surgery.

She was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive tumor called myxoma. The benign tumor was non-cancerous but was very aggressive. It had eaten away her entire jaw and displaced her tongue leading her to the path of becoming a malnourished child.

The cause of Myoxma is unkown, but it is more common in females. Approximately 10 percent are genetically passed down and is called familial myxomas.

According to CNN, LSU director of public affairs, Lisa Babin said if Melyssa did not have surgery they would have needed to use a feeding tube on her.

She was a month away from getting her airways blocked which would have made it difficult for her to breathe. Melyssa's breathing was already bad as the tumor had pushed her tongue to the back of her throat. 

Fox 2 Now reported after nearly 10 hours in the operating room, the procedure was done. Doctors said more surgery would be needed to fully complete the process.

During her recovery, she regained full use of her tongue. Her parents were relieved and grateful for everything that was done in a short month's time.

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