Children's Health

3-year-old with rare 5-pound tumor undergoes life-altering surgery

braga family tumor lsu health shreveport

 (LSU Health-Shreveport)

Surgeons in Louisiana have removed a rare, 5-pound tumor that was eating away at a 3-year-old girl’s face.

Melyssa Delgado Braga, who is from Brazil, had suffered from a myxoma, a usually benign tumor in children yet one that progresses aggressively, KSLA.com reported. Braga traveled thousands of miles to undergo the life-changing operation at LSU Health-Shreveport on Dec. 20, and her parents reportedly raised thousands of dollars to help make the trip possible.

"The transformation in the child’s appearance is remarkable," surgeons said in a statement.

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It all started when Dr. Celso Palmieri, assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at LSU Health-Shreveport, saw the family’s story on a Brazilian news site. Palmieri is from Brazil.

KSLA reported that Palmieri contacted Dr. G.E. Ghali, chairman of his department, who has performed similar surgeries on other international patients, said he thought be cold help Braga.

Palmieri contacted the family via social media, and they flew to Louisiana to have the tumor removed from Braga’s face. Next, the little girl underwent reconstructive surgery in which doctors implanted her jaw with a titanium plate.

Like other international patients who must undergo rare life-saving surgeries, Braga’s hospital and lodging costs were covered under Willis-Knighton Health System, a hospital in Shreveport-Bossier, La., the news station reported.

Although Braga will need additional surgeries as she ages, the initial surgery has already made a world of difference.

"It's hard to put into words how happy they are with the treatment, and just by looking at her daughter and seeing her daughter like any other kid that she's going to have a chance now to play," said Palmieri who translated for the family, according to KSLA.