World’s First Surgery Removes Tumor From Unborn Baby’s Lips

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 21, 2012   |   4:09PM   |   Miami, FL

In a first-of-its-kind surgery, doctors in Miami, Florida performed a surgery on an unborn baby in the womb to remove a tumor growing on her lips that was detected during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, now-20-month old Lyna Gonzalez was found to have a benign tumor the size of a tennis ball growing on her mouth. Physicians informed her parents there was little chance her daughter could survive birth and, if she did, she would need an immediate tracheotomy followed by multiple surgeries.

“It’s the most horrible feeling you could ever image; physically, emotionally, mentally,” said Gonzalez’s mom.

CBS Miami has more on the story:

After a lot research and heartache, Tammy sought help from University of Miami/Jackson Memorial fetal surgeon Ruben Quintero. Quintero, a pioneer in fetal medicine, has treated many birth defects and high risk conditions while the baby is still in the womb.

“The concern with these tumors is they grow very rapidly, the cause bleeding which leads to the death of the baby,” said Quintero.

In May 2010, Quintero and Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos operated on Tammy’s baby in utero. Using an endoscope guided by ultrasound they performed a first of its kind surgery and removed the tumor from the fetus’ mouth. The surgery was performed in the 17th week of the pregnancy and Tammy, who was under local anesthesia, was awake during the procedure.



The television station says Leyna Mykaella Gonzalez was born healthy on October 1, 2010 and weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce. She merely has a tiny scar on her mouth as evidence of the surgery and tumor.