Australian surgeons remove huge growth from Filipino boy's face

July 3, 2014

Australian surgeons have successfully carried out a complex and rare procedure to remove a huge growth from the face of a young Filipino boy, who had to lift it up to eat and drink.

Jhonny Lameon, 7, suffered from a severe fronto-nasal encephalocele—a neural tube defect that resulted in membranous sacs expanding through his eyes and covering his face.

He was noticed by a volunteer at NGO Interplast during a visit to the Philippines, who sent photos of the child to Monash Children's Hospital plastic surgeon James Leong in Melbourne.

"As soon as I saw his case I immediately sent emails to get approval so we could help this young boy," Leong told AFP.

Interplast teamed with the Children First Foundation to bring Jhonny to Australia, as the type of surgery he needed was not available in the Philippines and was out of reach for his impoverished family.

Leong said the condition was rare, with about one in 10,000 babies born with the defect. In more developed nations, the condition is usually picked up and corrected early.

A team of four surgeons, who all volunteered, performed an eight-hour operation to remove the mass and reconstruct Jhonny's entire face in March, with the hospital revealing news of the case on Thursday.

"Jhonny's case was quite severe. The surgery was quite complex," said Leong.

"We were able to excise the tumour, and reconstruct the face by breaking the bone between the eye sockets. We also took a rib graft to reconstruct a nose for Jhonny."

The boy has been recovering at a rehabilitation centre north of Melbourne and Leong said he was a bundle of energy and now able to live like other children his age.

"Jhonny referred to the tumour as 'the ball' and it made life very difficult for him. He was ostracised and teased and had to hold the tumour away from his face in order to eat or drink," Leong said.

"He still wanted to run and play like any other little boys but 'the ball' made this almost impossible.

"We feel privileged that we have an opportunity to change this little boy's life, and we hope Jhonny's quality of life will improve considerably."

Explore further: Child's face restored after accident, a first in Mexico

Related Stories

Child's face restored after accident, a first in Mexico

August 10, 2011
Surgeons have re-attached a large part of the face of a seven year-old child torn in a pitbull attack, Mexico's state-run Social Security Institute said Tuesday.

New prostate cancer test could change treatment

February 8, 2013
Thousands of men face a prostate biopsy following higher-than-normal results from their annual prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, the traditional screening for prostate cancer. But recent studies have shown three in four ...

Successful surgery after wrong cancer diagnosis (Update)

June 24, 2014
A medical team has painstakingly repaired the disfiguring injuries to a woman's face, caused by radiation treatments for a cancer she never had that caused a gaping hole in her cheek and made her an outcast in a former Soviet ...

Chinese boy gets implants after eyes gouged out

September 10, 2013
A 6-year-old Chinese boy whose eyes were gouged out was receiving implants at a hospital Tuesday in southern China from a Hong Kong surgeon who volunteered his services after learning about the brutal attack.

Spain surgeons cut giant 25kg tumour from woman's womb

December 4, 2013
Surgeons in Spain successfully removed a giant benign tumour weighing 25 kilograms (55 pounds) from the womb of a 47-year-old woman, the hospital treating her said on Wednesday.

British judge rules against mother in child cancer case

December 18, 2012
A judge ruled Tuesday that a seven-year-old British boy with cancer could undergo more surgery despite his mother's opposition, which had led her to run away with her son earlier this month.

Recommended for you

Smoking raises risk of aneurysm recurrence after endovascular treatment

August 17, 2017
In a new study, researchers report people who have experienced an aneurysm have another reason to quit smoking.

Study adds to evidence that most prescribed opioid pills go unused

August 2, 2017
In a review of half a dozen published studies in which patients self-reported use of opioids prescribed to them after surgery, researchers at Johns Hopkins report that a substantial majority of patients used only some or ...

Engineers harness the power of 3-D printing to help train surgeons, shorten surgery times

August 2, 2017
A team of engineers and pediatric orthopedic surgeons are using 3D printing to help train surgeons and shorten surgeries for the most common hip disorder found in children ages 9 to 16. In a recent study, researchers showed ...

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

July 19, 2017
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

July 18, 2017
A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

New tools help surgeons find liver tumors, not nick blood vessels

July 17, 2017
The liver is a particularly squishy, slippery organ, prone to shifting both deadly tumors and life-preserving blood vessels by inches between the time they're discovered on a CT scan and when the patient is lying on an operating ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.