Pulei Latu, the girl who we reported on back in August 2016, has now recovered from a major surgical procedure to remove the enormous facial tumour.
One of Latu’s surgeons, Dr. Will Blake said “because this is a benign tumour, we would expect her to have no problems with that throughout the rest of her life.”
Speaking to her team of surgeons as she presented them with a gift, Latu said “Thank you for everything, you changed my life back to normal. I am out of danger and I’m looking forward to going home.”
Latu will return to Tonga in the coming weeks, and she plans on pursuing her dream of becoming an accountant.
Latu, 19, underwent radical surgery in August 2016 to remove the rapidly-growing benign tumour near her cheek – which was affecting her speech and had caused damage to parts of her mouth and teeth.
‘Sometimes I look in the mirror, and yeah, I think it’s grown bigger,’ Ms Latu told 7 News before the surgery.
‘It’ll be good because they change mine (sic) to my normal face.’
The teenager’s life-changing surgery was sponsored by Children First Foundation, a Melbourne based nonprofit organisation that specialises in providing medical treatment to children in developing countries.
It took five volunteer surgeons a total of twelve hours to reconstruct her face, with one team working on removing the bone from her leg and another team removing the tumour and resculpting her jaw.
Now that Ms Latu has completed her post-surgery care at the Children First sMiles retreat, she can return Tonga and begin her life without the physical and emotional trauma of a tennis-ball sized tumour on the side of her face.
– This story appeared on 7News Melbourne.
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