Teen dies after surgery to remove 10-pound facial tumor

A 14-year-old boy died after undergoing surgery to remove a 10-pound tumor from his face.

Emanuel Zayas and his family traveled to the U.S. from Cuba to have the surgery in Miami. Doctors and relatives confirmed Zayas died Friday, according to statements reported by the Miami Herald and NBC 6 in Miami

"I am saddened by the fact that we are losing him and that the physiological stress of the surgery was apparently too much for his compromised anatomy," said Dr. Robert Marx, chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery for the University of Miami Health System, in a statement to the Herald. "Our hopes of saving his life, and with that allowing him a better quality of life, were not realized."

When the growth first appeared, Zayas and his parents thought it was just a pimple, but the tumor eventually grew bigger than a basketball.

Although the tumor was benign, doctors were concerned it was big enough to suffocate Zayas or break his neck. Last month, doctors revealed a surgery had been scheduled to have the tumor removed.

"Our condolences and prayers for Emanuel's family and the loss of a very brave young man," said Marx, as reported by NBC 6. "Another angel has arrived in heaven."   

Zayas' condition is known as polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, which caused the boy's body to develop scar-like tissue instead of bone. Marx first learned of Zayas' condition after viewing photos and X-rays presented by missionaries during a medical conference.

Marx said Zayas' family will donate his body to science to help them learn more about polyostotic fibrous dysplasia.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

 

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