Doctors are scheduled to remove a basketball-sized tumor from a 14-year-old's face in January. The tumor has grown so large it could suffocate him or cause a neck fracture if left untreated.
Emanuel Zayas was two years old when he was diagnosed with polyostotic fibrous dysplasia. By age four, his left arm and leg have already been affected by the condition. Still, Emanuel continued to live a normal life in Cuba until he was 11 years old, when his parents noticed what appeared to be a pimple on the left side of his nose.
However, what was believed to be a mere pimple continued growing excessively and was eventually diagnosed as an ossifying fibroma, or a benign tumor. In Emanuel's case, the large tumor is now the size of a basketball and weighs 10 pounds. It has almost completely covered the 14-year-old's face and has seriously altered his nose and upper jaw.
Because of the size, weight, and location of the tumor, Emanuel can only breathe through his mouth and struggles to eat. As a result, he has become extremely malnourished.
According to Emanuel's father, Noel Zayas, they had asked for the help of many doctors in Cuba, but none of them were willing to risk performing the surgery. Fortunately, American missionaries met Emanuel and wanted to help him, so they eventually brought his case to a team of doctors who agreed to conduct the surgeries.
Four surgeons will work together in January to complete the 12-hour surgery wherein they will prevent massive blood loss, reconstruct Emanuel's nose so that he can breathe easily, and make sure that the entire tumor is removed so that it will not return again. After the initial surgery to remove the tumor, Emanuel will also undergo reconstructive surgeries to fix facial features that were affected by the tumor as well as to fit him with prosthetic teeth implants.
However, Emanuel's surgery may come at a hefty price. So far, costs for the surgeries are expected to come at about $200,000 or even more. This is why Jackson Health Foundation, a nonprofit that helps ill children, are working to raise funds for Emanuel's medical needs by setting up a fundraising website, where people can learn about Emanuel's needs and donate.
Ossifying fibroma is a bone condition characterized by bone lesions that often occur in young children less than 10 years of age. They are benign growths that can be aggressive, and while some tumors regress over time, in severe cases such as in Emanuel's, surgery may be a necessary treatment.