Groundbreaking Surgery Removes Tumor From Fetus

Teratoma tumors affect only 1 out of 100K babies
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2012 9:30 AM CDT
Groundbreaking Surgery Removes Tumor From Fetus
Leyna Gonzalez at 17 weeks old, with a peach-sized tumor growing on her lip.   (Jackson Memorial Hospital)

(Newser) – Miami doctors made history with a first-of-its-kind operation in which they removed a dangerous tumor from the mouth of a fetus, reports the Miami Herald. A routine ultrasound at 17 weeks turned up a peach-size teratoma tumor growing on the fetus' mouth. Teratomas are benign but still dangerous, as they grow rapidly and can cause bleeding and other complications, and doctors gave Tammy Gonzalez the options of aborting the fetus, risking a miscarriage, or trying an untested surgical technique. "I said, let’s give it a chance," said Gonzalez.

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While Gonzalez was under a local anesthetic, the doctor inserted an endoscope through her abdomen, guided by an ultrasound; the tumor was then removed by laser. Five months later, Leyna Gonzalez was born safe and sound, with just a small scar that, nearly two years later, is barely visible. "When we saw that she was fine, we couldn’t believe it," said father Alain Gonzalez. Details of the surgery are just now emerging following a report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (Read more Miami stories.)

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