SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Doctors in Shreveport successfully have removed a rare tumor from a 3-year-old Brazilian girl's face.
Further details about the surgery and recovery were discussed during a new conference at 9 a.m. Jan. 24.
"The transformation in the child's appearance is remarkable," says a statement about the procedure, which surgeons deemed a success.
The child's journey of thousands of miles from Brazil to the United States for treatment began with Dr. Celso Palmieri, an assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at LSU Health-Shreveport.
He was reviewing online publications of his home country when he ran across a post on a Brazilian news site.
It was a plea from Melyssa Delgado Braga's family seeking help to get her to the United States for treatment.
Palmieri contacted his colleague and department chairman, Dr. G.E. Ghali, who indicated that he believed he could help the child.
Ghali, chancellor of LSU Health-Shreveport, approached Willis-Knighton Health System President James K. Elrod to seek support for the effort from Willis-Knighton.
Willis-Knighton, as it has in previous cases involving international patients and rare surgeries, agreed to provide housing for the family and underwrite the cost of the hospital stay.
Braga's parents already had been raising funds for travel to the United States.
Then Palmieri reached out to the family via social media to share the good news.
"I spent one hour searching social media, I was able to get in touch with the family and a month after that they were here in Shreveport ready for surgery," said Palmieri.
The procedure Dec. 20 took nearly 10 hours and was termed a success.
"This is a very rare tumor in this age group of a child a three-year-old girl with what is a myxoma," explained Ghali. A typically benign, but extremely aggressive tumor.
Doctors said once removed, the tumor weighed over five pounds, and reconstructed her jaw with a titanium plate.
Braga will require more surgeries as she grows older, doctors said.
"We're very happy to be able to pull this off for this child and for this family," expressed Ghali.
"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," expressed Palmieri who translated for the family.