A girl had to undergo a life-changing operation to remove a facial tumor that became so large that it crushed the trachea.
Ignacia Sanmartin has a benign tumor around his chin and cheeks that makes it hard for her to breathe and kill her.
The girl from Villa Alemana, Chile, had a 14-hour surgery to remove growth to prevent it from increasing in size.
The tumor, which consists of many small cysts, may grow again in the future so that medical professionals will monitor the young girl in the hope that any recurrence will be small.
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Ignacia Sanmartin, five, had to undergo surgery to remove a lymphangioma – a growth of cysts on the face and neck – that had grown so large that it threatened to suffocate her
Ignacia's mother, Danitza, said before the tumor was removed: "If she gets sick or has a cold, she can not breathe properly, and sometimes the tumor hurts Ignacia as it grows.
"This gives her earache, she has balance issues, and she also hurts to chew and the base of her tongue hurts."
The growth – known as lymphangioma – was caused by defective lymphatic vessels in the neck, which are an important part of the immune system.
But the lymphatic vessels were out of control and produced a tumor that would not stop growing.
Her father, Jonathan, added, "The other day she came to me and said, 'Daddy, tall, tall.' As she gets older, she begins to realize that her face is not the same as that of the other children It worries us a lot.
The suffering of Igancia, however, can be seen after the recent drastic tumor removal surgery performed by the oral surgeon dr. Gonzalo Rossel was completed.
Dr. Rossel explained, "Where there is a defect in the lymphatic channels, they begin to slowly produce a tumor that is more of cystic origin and may have small or large cysts that grow.
"It's probably there in the future [would] There may be an increase in compression and we may have problems with the operation of the respiratory system.
Ignacia's parents, Danitza and Jonathan from Chile, found that she had the problem before she was born, but it got out of hand until it interfered with her breathing
The family said they had to reckon with both gruesome comments and supportive comments, and the doctors were too nervous to work on the growth because it was so big – when it was finally removed, part of it bled because it was so well associated with blood vessels
"It's really important that we remove the tumor now."
Lymphangiomas can occur anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found in the head and neck.
LYMPHANGIOME: THE FACTS
Lymphatic malformations, sometimes called lymphangiomas, are tumors that originate from cysts.
The non-cancerous masses come from an abnormal development of the lymphatic system – a part of the body's natural defenses, experts believe.
Children are born with them, but they do not always show up until they get older.
Most of the time, they may strike patients in the neck or under the armpits, but also in the mouth, arms, legs, stomach and even the lungs.
They can only appear as a small spot on the skin or be immediately visible as a large mass.
The treatment depends on the size, shape and location of the masses – but it is known that they regrow.
Source: National Health Institutes
They occur when lymphatic vessels do not form properly, causing excess fluid to accumulate and produce a benign tumor-like swelling.
They are usually present from birth, but the exact cause is unknown.
Ms. Sanmartin was only three and a half months pregnant when a scan revealed the serious problem.
Since Igancia was born, the parents have been fighting for someone to treat their daughter, and they have had to endure glances and comments about them.
Her mother said, "The comments I had to hear came from both sides of the coin.
"Really tender, or I've heard her say," Look at this girl who comes here, she does not look ugly. She looks like a monster. "
"She's not a freak, she's a normal girl who's sick."
Doctors were always too nervous to operate on Ignacia because of the size of the tumor, but Dr. Gonzalo finally agreed to the operation.
The surgeon's main objective was to remove the tumor before causing fatal injuries to the five-year-old.
The operation was a high risk and took a dangerous turn when, after most of the growth had been removed, a remaining portion was so fused with blood vessels that it bled rapidly when cut, risking Ignacia's life.
As Ignacia grew older, she realized that her face was different from other children's, her father said, worried that it would upset her in the future
Ignacia (pictured by a psychiatrist for the first time after the operation) had growth as part of a lymphoid malformation in which part of the immune system in the neck did not form properly and form fluid
The growth could come back in the future, but Ignacia's surgeon, dr. Gonzalo Rossel said he hopes that everything that comes back should be "minimal" because he has removed most of the tumor
The family is happy with the results and Ignacia's father, Jonathan, said, "There is a drastic change in her face, and you can see that the surgeons and the entire medical team have done an extraordinary job with our girl.
But 14 hours later, the operation was declared a success.
Dr. Gonzalo said, "We need to find out how to help her when she reappears.
"However, since we have removed the origin, I hope that if there is something, it will be minimal."
Igancia's parents are overwhelmed with joy for their daughter, and despite some complications in her recovery, Ignacia is doing well.
Her father said, "There is a drastic change in her face, you can see that the surgeons and the entire medical team did an extraordinary job with our wife, so it's great.
Igancia's story will be featured this week at Body Bizarre on TLC, along with a story about 27-year-old Thomas, who has a rare bone-eating disease that destroys his torso, and teenager Harry, who has Goldenhar syndrome.
Body Bizarre is on Saturday at 22 pm on TLC UK.