Woman has giant facial tumour removed

February, 03/2021 - 08:47

The tumour measures 12x14 centimetres, covering half of her face, affected her skull, destroyed her right eye, and caused her trouble breathing.

Bảo Hoa & Vân Nguyễn

HÀ NỘI — A 74-year-old woman from the central province of Hà Tĩnh has had a rare tumour removed from her face.

Bùi Thị Hợi had been living with the giant deformity for five years but couldn’t afford surgery.

Measuring 12x14 centimetres, it covered half of her face, affected her skull, destroyed her right eye, and caused her trouble breathing.

“It was difficult for me to eat, drink and do daily tasks,” Hợi said.

“I had it for about five years but didn’t have the money for the surgery.

“But then people helped me. The doctors also helped me, and they were friendly.”

Hợi’s tumour was removed during a five-hour operation conducted by doctors from four hospitals in Hà Nội last week.

The doctors and surgeons came from the National Institute of Burns, Việt Nam-Germany Friendship Hospital, 103 Military Hospital, and the National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology.

Bùi Thị Hợi before and after surgery. The 74-year-old woman from the central province of Hà Tĩnh has had a giant tumour removed from her face by doctors in Hà Nội.

Doctor Vũ Quang Vinh from the National Institute of Burns said: “The patient suffered from a fibrous tumor, a very rare type. It accounts for only 0.05 to 0.5 per cent of all facial tumors in the world.

“To conduct this surgery, we created a team of doctors from four hospitals. We performed the surgery in five hours, and the tumour was completely removed during the first three.

“The amount of blood lost during the process was not much and the result of the surgery was great. The patient was discharged from the intensive care unit a week after the surgery.”

It was a tough decision to perform the surgery, Vinh added.

“We were worried, very worried. The patient is old, 74, it was a rare tumour, and she already had a lot of underlying health issues.

“Because it’s so rare, there weren’t many similar surgeries done before, and we had little experience concerning such surgeries. So we need a consensus and professional collaboration among the hospitals.

“After talking about it we knew there was a possibility of the patient dying during the surgery, but there was also a chance of success. And we thought as long as there was a glimmer of hope, we should do it for her.”

Doctors from the National Institute of Burns, Việt Nam-Germany Friendship Hospital, 103 Military Hospital, and the National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology collaborate to perform Hợi's surgery. Photo courtesy of the National Institute of Burns

If the surgery had not been performed, Hợi’s life would have still been threatened by the tumour anyway, Vinh added.

“It was a great challenge in medical treatment. But the surgery was a success, which says a lot about the quality of Vietnam’s medical practice and the collaboration between central-level hospitals,” he said.

“The factors that helped bring about the success were Vietnamese doctors’ determination, expertise and experience. And another important thing is we dare to think, to do, and to make tough decisions.

“If we had yielded to pressure we would have still stayed in the safe zone and wouldn’t have been able to improve our capabilities.”

 

The surgery took five hours to complete, and the tumour was entirely removed during the first three. Photo courtesy of the National Institute of Burns

As for Hợi, her life seems to have begun again.

“I feel much better, relieved, and no longer insecure about the tumour,” she said.

“I am so thankful for the help of doctors and everyone who helped me.” 

Hợi’s sister, Bùi Thị Châu, is also happy.

“We had to take my sisters back and forth between several hospitals, it was a very tough journey. Yet the result is just perfect," Châu said.

“We are very thankful to everyone. It’s like a new life for her.

“Her health indicators are normal and she will be able to come home soon after two months staying in hospitals.” VNS

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