Doctors Say 13-Year-Old Would Have Died Without Surgery

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An 8-pound tumor has been removed from the neck of Ethiopian girl by doctors at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital.

Aster Degano, 13, had trouble breathing and couldn’t attend school because of the soccer ball-sized mass, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

The benign tumor would have eventually killed her, said Dr. Milton Waner, one of Degano’s surgeons.

Dr. Waner said “with painstaking dissection” the team was able to remove the tumor and spare the vital arteries.

“We were able to preserve all of the important structures,” he said.

Degano was born with the tumor, which had grown steadily since her birth. She was discovered by the Baby Face Foundation and brought to America for the 7 hour surgery, which took place on Sept. 11.

Through an interpreter, Aster said she’ll have a new life.

“Now I know that I’m beautiful and that I’m healed and I like the way I am now.”

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