Doctors to Remove 10-pound Facial Tumor That Threatens to Break Boy’s Neck

December 26, 2017 Updated: December 26, 2017

Doctors in Miami are to perform extensive surgery on the face of a 14-year-old boy from Cuba by removing a large, 10-pound tumor that threatens to suffocate the child or break his neck.

“It’s life-threatening by its very weight,” said Dr. Robert Marx, chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery at University of Miami Health System, explained at a news conference on Friday, Dec. 22, CBS reported.

“If nothing is done it will cause a fracture of his neck or it will suffocate him from breathing just by its physical size.”

At birth, Emanuel Zayas was diagnosed with a rare disorder called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia. This is a condition that replaces bone with fibrous tissue and may cause fractures and deformity of the legs, arms, and skull.

Emanual reportedly began his struggle with the disease when he was just two years old. His left arm and leg were the first parts of his body to be affected by the condition.

It is reported that the boy’s condition worsened over time. But it was at age 11, when a pimple on the boy’s face was diagnosed as ossifying fibroma, that his current ordeal began.

Over the course of three years, the pimple swelled in size more and more, growing over the child’s entire face. The bone structure of his upper jaw and nose have been affected most severely. Emanuel reportedly can only breathe through his mouth and has a hard time eating, and so is extremely malnourished.

The tumor, which doctors say is benign, now weighs approximately 10 pounds.

Dr. Marx is one of the few specialists in the country who operates extreme size tumors and has considerable experience treating similar conditions. He learned of the child’s plight about two months ago and offered to help.

Dr. Marx was reportedly part of a surgical team that operated on a Haitian woman, Marlie Casseus (watch the documentary below), who had a 16-pound tumor removed from her face at Jackson Memorial in 2005.

The boy is scheduled to undergo his first surgery in January at Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

“It is truly a miracle of God that his pictures ended in the hands of Dr. Marx,” said Melvis Vizcaino, Emanuel’s mother, CBS reported. “I am so grateful he was willing to take the case. He and everyone at Jackson has shown us so much compassion.”

Emanuel’s father told reporters he, too, is thankful for the possibility to help his son.

“I thank God for the opportunity to come here. I’m grateful for these wonderful doctors,” he reportedly said.

The boy and his parents, father Noel Zayas and mother Melvis Vizaino, arrived in Miami from Cuba about three weeks ago on a medical visa, Miami Herald reported.

The family has been staying at a local Ronald McDonald House, where Vizaino told Miami Herald the staff has made them feel welcome.

“The children always have activities there,” she told reporters, and added that her son likes to build Lego toys, solve puzzles and watch cartoons.

The Jan. 12 procedure is expected to last 10 to 14 hours. Several months later, the child will likely undergo a second surgery, in which the surgical team will use bone from his hip to reconstruct part of his cheekbone, upper jaw, and nose.

Jackson Health Foundation’s IKF Wonderfund is raising funds to provide medical care for the family. Donations can be made online at

Extraordinary People The Girl With A New Face part 1:

Extraordinary People The Girl With A New Face part 2:

Extraordinary People The Girl With A New Face part 3:

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