3-year-old gets huge tumor removed from face: 'It was like another head attached to her jaw'
This 3-year-old was almost unrecognizable to her parents after Louisiana doctors were able to remove a tumor the size of a basketball from her face.
Doctors from LSU Health in Shreveport said they were able to successfully remove a 5-pound facial tumor from "a child that probably doesn't weigh more than 25 pounds herself, total weight" following a grueling, 10-hour surgery.
Melyssa Braga, the 3-year-old from Brazil, had a disfiguring tumor growing out of the side of her face. While the tumor was determined to be benign, it was especially aggressive, and began causing health problems.
"This tumor has pretty much eaten away her entire jaw from one side to the other," said Dr. G. E. Ghali, a leading surgeon on the case, said at a press conference.
Doctors also said the tumor, which had begun displacing Melyssa's tongue, was affecting her breathing and eating. They were worried it would soon lead to malnutrition.
"She had a problem just keeping her head still because this thing weighed 5 pounds," Ghali said. "It was just like another head was attached to her jaw."
Dr. Cesla Palmieri, an oral surgeon on the case, said he first read about Melyssa's case in a Brazilian newspaper, after her family went public about how desperate they were to get their daughter the care she needed.
He then texted Ghali, and, "in less than one hour searching social media, I was able to get in touch with the family and a month after that they were here, ready for surgery," he said.
Watch: Ashes of 6-Year-Old Who Died of Cancer Returned to Family After They Were Held for $5,000 Ransom