A girl had to undergo a life-changing surgery to remove a facial tumor that became so big that it crushed the trachea.
Ignacia Sanmartin has a benign tumor around her chin and cheeks that has made it difficult for her to breathe and risk killing her.
The girl, from Villa Alemana, in Chile, had a 14-hour operation to remove the growth to prevent its further increase in size.
The tumor, consisting of a lot of tiny cysts, could grow back in the future, so the doctors will check the girl in the hope that every repetition can be small.
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Ignacia Sanmartin, five years old, had to undergo surgery to remove a lymphanggioma – cyst growth on her face and neck – which had become so big that she threatened to suffocate her
Ignacia's mother, Danitza, said before the tumor was removed: "When he gets sick or gets a cold, he can not breathe properly, sometimes the tumor hurts Ignacia when it grows.
"This gives her aching ears, has balance problems, and it also hurts her to chew and hurts the base of the tongue."
Growth – known as lymphangioma – was caused by malfunction of the lymphatic vessels in the neck, which are a crucial part of the immune system.
But the lymphatic vessels became out of control and produced a tumor that would not stop growing.
His father, Jonathan, added: "The other day she came to me and said: 'Dad, big, big'. So while he gets older, he begins to realize that his face is not the same as the other children ". It worries us a lot. & # 39;
However, the suffering of Igancia can be completed after the recent drastic surgery to remove the tumor, performed by maxillo-facial surgeon, Dr. Gonzalo Rossel.
The dott. Rossel explained: "When there is a defect in the lymphatic ducts, they slowly start producing a tumor that is more of a cystic origin, which may have small or large cysts that grow.
"In the future it is likely there is [would] be an increase in compression and we may have problems with the functioning of the airway.
The parents of Ignacia, Danitza and Jonathan, from Chile, discovered they had the problem before they were born, but they became out of control to the point where it was affecting her breathing
The family says they had to endure cruel and supportive comments, and the doctors were too nervous to work on growth because it was so big – when it was eventually removed, part of it bleed a lot because it was so well connected to the blood vessels
"So it's really important to remove the tumor now."
Lymphangiomas can occur anywhere in the body, but are more commonly found in the head and neck.
LINFANGIA: THE FACTS
Lymphatic malformations, sometimes called lymphangiomas, are excrescences that derive from cysts.
Non-cancerous masses arise from the abnormal development of the lymphatic system – part of the body's natural defenses, according to experts.
Children are born with them, however, they do not always show up until they get older.
Very often they hit patients in the neck or under the armpits, but they can also be found in the mouth, arms, legs, stomach and even in the lungs.
They can look like a small stain on the skin or they can be immediately visible as a large mass.
The treatment depends on the size, shape and position of the masses, but it is known that regrow.
Source: National Institutes of Health
They occur when the lymphatic vessels fail to form properly, which causes excess fluid to build up and cause a benign tumor-like swelling.
They are usually present from birth, but the exact cause is not known.
Mrs. Sanmartin was only three and a half months pregnant when a scan revealed the serious problem.
Since Igancia was born, parents have fought for someone to treat their daughter, and they have had to endure looks and bad comments about her.
His mother said, "The comments I had to listen come from both sides of the coin.
"Really tender, or I heard them say," Look at this girl who comes here, she does not look ugly. It looks like a monster. "
"She's not a freak, she's a normal girl who's sick."
The doctors had always been too nervous to work on Ignacia because of the size of the tumor, but Dr. Gonzalo eventually agreed to do the surgery.
The main purpose of the surgeon was to remove the tumor before it caused fatal damage at five years.
The operation was at high risk and took a dangerous turn when, after much of the growth had been removed, a remaining portion had been so merged with the blood vessels that it quickly bleed when it was cut, risking the life of Ignacia.
While Ignacia had aged, she had begun to realize that her face was different from the other children, her father said, and they feared she would be troubled in the future
Ignacia (in the picture is shown for the first time by a psychiatrist after surgery) has had growth as part of a lymphatic malformation, which is when part of the immune system in the neck does not form properly and causes the formation of liquids
Growth may return in the future but Ignacia surgeon, Dr Gonzalo Rossel, said he hopes everything that comes back should be "minimal" because he has removed most of the tumor
The family is pleased with the results and Ignacia's father, Jonathan, said, "It's a drastic change to his face." You can say that the surgeons and the entire medical team did a great job with our girlfriend. "
But 14 hours later, the operation was declared a success.
Dr Gonzalo said: "We will have to understand how we can help it if it reappears.
"However, since we have removed the origin, I hope that if there will be something, it will be minimal."
The parents of Igancia are overwhelmed with joy for their daughter and, despite some complications in his recovery, Ignacia is doing well.
His father said, "It's a drastic change to his face, you can say that the surgeons and the entire medical team did a great job with our girlfriend, so it's great."
The story of Igancia has appeared on Body Bizarre this week on TLC, along with a story about twenty-seven Thomas who has a rare bone disease that is destroying his torso, and the teenage Harry who has the Goldenhar Syndrome.
Body Bizarre is Saturday at 22:00 on TLC UK.