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Fetal Surgery Saves Unborn Baby From Tennis Ball-Sized Tumor Growing on Her Mouth

Lyna Gonzalez in utero before the tumor was removed. (Photo via CBS Local)

Tammy Gonzalez described the news doctors delivered to her after an ultrasound as "the most horrible feeling you could ever imagine." Her unborn baby girl had a tumor "the size of a tennis ball" growing on her mouth.

According to Miami CBS Local, Gonzalez was told her baby had little chance of survival, given the number of surgeries she would need to receive after birth.

In May 2010, Gonzalez turned to University of Miami/Jackson Memorial fetal surgeon Ruben Quintero. Today, according to CBS, Gonzalez has a normal 20-month-old thanks to a surgery that went through her own stomach and operated on baby Lyna while still in utero.

“This was an opportunity to expand the field we have developed, to treat birth defects in utero,” Quinero said to CBS.

Although fetal surgeries in general are not entirely new, they are rare and this surgery tackling the tumor was the first of its kind.

Watch ABC's report, below:

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This research was recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. According to the paper's abstract, only 9 percent of tumors are like that Lyna had but they are frequently associated with "fetal demise." With the success of this surgery, physicians believe it could be an acceptable treatment to improve the quality of life for the unborn child.

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