A baby boy has been left with a caesarean-type scar after surgeons removed a grapefruit-sized tumour from his stomach which was crushing his vital organs.
Mum Elaine Bridge, 40, was 33 weeks pregnant when doctors discovered her unborn son had a rare abdominal tumour.
An ultrasound scan showed the mass – which measured 10cm by 10cm (3.9in x 3.9in) – was a retroperitoneal teratoma – a germ cell case which forms a malignant tumour.
Doctors said the size of the 1lb growth made it one of the rarest they had seen and was growing at a faster rate than baby Bradan.
Elaine and husband Frank were told the devastating news that their son would need urgent surgery as soon as he was born.
Within two weeks, the tumour had grown so much it was pushing into Bradan’s ribs and his heart had started to become enlarged.
Doctors delivered Bradan, who weighed 7lb 7oz including the 1lb tumour, by Caesarean section on March 15 last year – five weeks before his due date.
Three days later, the tiny tot underwent a four-hour operation to remove the life-threatening mass.
Graphic pictures show the moment surgeons at Leicester Royal Infirmary removed the huge tumour from his stomach.
Analysis showed that it did contain some cancerous cells but 16-month-old Bradan is now recovering well at home in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leics.
Elaine, a healthcare worker, said: “We were in complete shock when we were first told but in less than two hours of finding the tumour the team had explained everything to us.
“We were not prepared for the amazing level of care at the hospital. We knew they would do everything they could for Bradan.”
She was also impressed by the Skype facility which meant she could be with Bradan every moment while he was in the neonatal unit.
She said: “Just being able to see and here what the doctors were saying was just amazing.
“As I couldn’t physically be with him this reassured me that he could hear my voice.
“I also didn’t realise how much stress the surgeon was under.
“I will always remember seeing him after the operation and he was smiling.”
Elaine and Frank, who have an older son Isaac, three, have now thanked the hospital for saving their son.
Frank, 35, said: “The level of care in the maternity and neonatal units was second to none and staff went above and beyond our expectations.”
Bradan’s mum Elaine is a medical receptionist, and dad Frank is an engineer for Rolls-Royce.
Elaine told yesterday how her baby Bradan was given just a 50/50 chance of survival after the tumour was detected growing rapidly in his stomach.
She said: “I woke up one morning and my ankles had tripled in size overnight.
“I called my midwife and she told me to go to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
“I wasn’t worried about the scan because Frank and I both have family histories of big babies, so I told him I’d go by myself.
“I could tell by the sonographer’s face that something was wrong, and then she said she needed to get someone else to double-check the scan.
“Within an hour-and-a-half of being told the horrendous news (that Bradan had a tumour), Dr Dagash had assembled his team and we were all in a room together.
“The best Dr Dagash could give us was a 50/50 chance.
“I went in for a caesarean on March 15, but it was Mother’s day so the majority of the staff were on standby.
“The team were well prepped, and everyone was there within an hour.
“They told us the baby might not be breathing when I gave birth, but he came out screaming and that was a massive relief.
“The doctors couldn’t pin point where the tumour was getting its blood supply from, so they didn’t know what they were up against.
“They found out that everything that was touching the tumour was supplying it with blood, so it had a massive blood supply which was causing it to grow so rapidly.
“They told us that the baby would die if they didn’t operate.
“We were told the operation would take between five and seven hours, and we were updated throughout the whole thing.
“The operation was finished in just over four hours, and we got a phone call to say he was coming back to the neonatal unit but we didn’t know if the surgery had gone well or not.
“We saw Dr Dagash coming down the hallway, and he had the biggest smile on his face.
“He told us it had gone so much better than they had hoped.
“They had to tie off every single blood supply to the tumour, so it was an intricate procedure.”
Haitham Dagash, a consultant in paediatric surgery, said: “Bradan had a rare tumour but one of this size made it the rarest of the lot.
“They can often have a major feeding vessel from veins and I had a vascular surgeon on standby to ensure that Bradan did not bleed.”
He said that colleagues had been surprised at the size of tumour he removed.
Incredibly, Bradan spent just ten days in hospital and was discharged on March 25.
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