Vietnamese, US doctors remove giant tumor from boy's face

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Dr McKay McKinnon checks Le Trung Tuan before the surgery to remove his face tumor

Doctors in Hanoi have successfully remove a rare, life-threatening tumor from the face of a 15-year-old boy and restored it almost to normal.

The surgery was performed Tuesday by renowned American plastic surgeon McKay McKinnon and experts from Vinmec International Hospital over nearly nine hours, Vietnam News Agency reported.

"It was a success," Dr Nguyen Thanh Liem, director of the hospital and a leading pediatrist who was on the surgery team, said about the procedure on Le Trung Tuan from the northern province of Thanh Hoa.

McKinnon said the boy can have his nose fixed in six months to a year after ensuring the tumor would not return.

The US doctor had come to Vietnam last year to remove a 90-kilogram tumor from the leg of Nguyen Duy Hai of Lam Dong, bubble-like lumps on a woman from the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, and a 2-kg tumor from the face of a woman from Hai's province.

The doctors said removing Tuan's malignant tumor, which appeared five years ago, was complicated since it had grown so big. 

It has destroyed a part of his skull, compressed optic nerves, and started to affect his pituitary gland, which influences growth of bones, sexual maturity, and general metabolism.

They had to remove it without affecting nearby organs like the eyes and brain.

Tuan received seven liters of blood during the long procedure.

The tumor grew rapidly and covered almost his entire face, pushing his eyes to the sides. He could see from only one eye but both bled often.

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The tumor also caused his nose and ears to stop functioning.

He did not go to school after getting the tumor, and lost 15 kilograms since he could eat little.

The media began to report about his plight and call for donations last October.

His surgery was sponsored by Canadian charity Virtual Medical Miracle Network, Vovicare charity run by ethnic Vietnamese living in Australia, American nonprofit VinaCapital Foundation that runs health and education projects for Vietnamese children and youth, and Detech science and technology development company.

McKinnon and the other doctors worked for free.

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