Boy dies after surgery to remove 10-pound facial tumor

Cancer surgery

A 14-year-old boy from Cuba has died after doctors in Miami removed a 10-pound tumor from his face.

Dr. Robert Marx, head of maxillofacial surgery at the University of Miami Health System and the main doctor assigned to Zayas' case, told NBC Miami the boy's family donated his remains to science.

Initially, following the surgery, first indications were encouraging.

"Our condolences and prayers for Emanuel's family and the loss of a very courageous young man", Marx said in a statement.

Zayas developed the massive tumor that nearly covered his face after suffering from a rare disease called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia - a genetic disorder in which fibrous tissue begins to replace the bone in the body.

The doctor commended Emanuel's parents for donating their son's body to medical research. "Another angel has arrived in Heaven".

The tumor had been growing since Emanuel was 11, when what he thought was a pimple on his nose was actually skull bone growing from his upper jaw. This irregular tissue can weaken the affected bone and cause it to deform or fracture, according to the Mayo Clinic. "If nothing is done, this will cause a fracture of his neck, or it will suffocate him from breathing just by its physical size".

Dr. Marx said he saw progress in Zayas on January 18, when he observed pupillary reflexes and facial muscle tone in the boy's face.

"I am disheartened by the way that we are losing him and that the physiological worry of the surgery was clearly a lot for his traded off life structures".

"Our hopes of saving his life and in doing so would allow him a better quality of life have not been realised".

Zayas was also malnourished because his tumor made it challenging for him to eat and swallow. His family was finally granted a temporary humanitarian visa to travel to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fla.to meet a team of facial surgeons.

The boy was brought to Miami because it was hard for Cuban doctors to remove the 10-pound tumor.

A Facebook page that was created to facilitate donations for Emanuel has received hundreds of messages of condolences from people who were hoping for the boys' recovery. "I am personally saddened but want to thank all of you for your well wishes and prayers".

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