NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– A baby girl is born beautiful and perfect in every way except one side of her face is swollen. It turns out to be a noncancerous tumor that was growing.
The almost two-year-old girl is active, adorable, and loves playing blocks with her big sister, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports. But if you look closely at her when she sits on her mother’s lap, you see there’s something not quite right with Camila’s face.
Camila’s mother, Angela Alzate, said she noticed her baby’s problem right from birth and was afraid that it might be a malignant tumor. An MRI revealed that it was a tumor, but not cancer.
“It’s like a tumor made of veins. She was born with this and as time goes by that has continued to grow,” Dr. Rafael Ortiz of Cohen Children’s Medical Center said. “These are all a conglomeration of very dilated and fat veins.”
A venous vascular malformation, as doctors call it, was continuing to grow and pressing on the baby’s skull and preventing normal development. Because the tumor is a tangle of blood vessels, surgery is extremely risky.
“The risk of blood loss is very high, particularly in children of this size where their amount of blood is not the same volume as you and I, so every single drop of blood is precious,” Dr. Nicholas Bastidas of Cohen Children’s Medical Center said.
Bastidas and Ortiz developed an innovative plan. In a series of five treatments, Ortiz would inject a solution into the tumor to scar off some of the veins.
Alzate was worried the procedures would paralyze Camila’s face and now she was having a rare hybrid procedure where her doctors were going to both inject to control bleeding at the same time as they worked to cut out the tumor.
Just two weeks later, Camila is still a little swollen, but not worse for the wear.
“She’s going to grow up happy and a normal baby. Like a normal baby,” Alzate said.
Thanks to resourceful doctors, that’s exactly what Camila will be. Dr. Gomez said Camila may need one last procedure to remove the tumor.