A student has had a 6.6lb facial tumour the size of a basketball removed from his face that was so hard it needed a ‘hammer and chisel’ to remove.
Adrián Espino, 23, was left suicidal by the growth, which developed from a small ‘bruise’ on his cheek at six-years-old.
His parents, Adrián Snr and Maria, were told by doctors there was ‘no cure’ for his diagnosed condition – fibrous dysplasia – and his tumour would grow for as long as he did.
Mr Espino’s airways had become so restricted by the growth that his life was under threat if he could not eat or breathe.
The musician, from Chihuahua, Mexico, has had his life turned around since Dr Laura Andrade Delgado cut the tumour out – which is heavier than a brick.
Adrián Espino has had a 6.6lb facial tumour the size of a basketball removed from his face that was so hard it needed a ‘hammer and chisel’ to remove
Mr Espino, 23, was left suicidal by the growth, which developed from a small ‘bruise’ on his cheek at six-years-old after he was diagnosed with the rare condition fibrous dysplasia
Mr Espino’s parents were told that for as long as he would grow, so would his tumour. There is no cure for the condition, which causes scar-like tissue to grow instead of normal bone
Growing up, Mr Espino, who appears on TLC show Body Bizarre, was a healthy child.
When he was six years old, his mother, Maria Espino, noticed a ‘bruise’ on her son’s cheek.
She said: ‘I used to say to my husband “Maybe he hurt himself maybe he hit something”. He was always crying and holding his face”.’
Concerned, Mr Espino’s father took his son to hospital and he was diagnosed with polyostotic fibrous dysplasia. It is not clear how long this took.
Fibrous dysplasia causes scar-like tissue to develop instead of normal bone, causing the bone around it to be weakened, fractured or deformed.
It is a condition which people are born with, caused by a genetic mutation early on in the pregnancy. The prevalence is not clear.
Polyostotic means it affects more than one bone, although it is not clear if Mr Espino is effected anywhere else.
Mr Espino’s airways had become so restricted by the growth. HIs life was under threat if he could not eat or breathe
Mr Espino travelled a thousand miles to Mexico City to see Dr Laura Andrade Delgado
Adrian Snr Espino has seen his son go through many failed operations growing up
WHAT IS FIBROUS DYSPLASIA?
Fibrous dysplasia is an uncommon bone disorder in which scar-like (fibrous) tissue develops in place of normal bone.
This irregular tissue can weaken the affected bone and cause it to deform or fracture.
Polyostotic means it affects multiple bones.
There’s no cure for the disorder. Treatment, which may include surgery, focuses on relieving pain and repairing or stabilizing bones.
People who have more than one affected bone typically develop symptoms before the age of 10.
Symptoms include bone pain, swelling, deformity, bone fractures, curvature of leg bones.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Adrian Snr Espino said: ‘When the diagnosis came the doctor said “This is going to spread all over his face. This is only the beginning. There is no cure for this. This only stops when the patient stops growing”.
The only option doctors had was to operate multiple times to slowly remove the tumour as it grew.
But several attempts to try and stem the growth were unsuccessful and Mr Espino’s tumour only got bigger as he aged.
Mr Espino, who studies engineering, said: ‘I thought a lot about killing myself. I fell into a huge depression. I locked myself inside my bubble.
‘But there were always two things I had in mind. I thought about my family and about my own pride. I didn’t want to let go.
‘I’ve always seen the bright side of life. Who hasn’t felt lonely sometimes even with so much life around them?’
Despite overcoming his suicidal thoughts, his love for music and singing keeping him positive, the tumour did in fact physically threaten his life.
Mr Espino said: ‘I breathe through my nose but lately I can’t because this is pushing on the left side.
‘It also makes it very difficult to see with my right eye. Actually, I can barely see it’s all blurred. It’s uncomfortable.
‘My teeth this side don’t line up which means I cannot chew food properly.’
Mr Espino had a difficult time recovering in hospital, while his nostrils were reconstructed, having his face wrapped in bandages
Three months after surgery, Mr Espino is reportedly recovering remarkably well
Mr Espino is getting used to his new face – he can now sleep lying down instead of sitting up as he doesn’t have a huge bugle that engulfs one side of his head
Mr Espino and his father travelled a thousand miles to Mexico City for the high-risk surgery.
Mr Espino said: ‘I might end up looking like Tom Cruise but I don’t think that’s possible, is it? I’ve always harboured the hope of ending up fine.’
Dr Laura Andrade Delgado assessed Mr Espino before undergoing the surgery, and said: ‘If we don’t give Adrián treatment he won’t be able to breathe or eat because the airways are beginning to get blocked.’
The tumour had hardened so much it is reported that it took a hammer and chisel to cut it out.
The fibrous bone was removed in chunks, and Dr Andrade was able to remove the section blocking Mr Espino’s mouth and nose.
In total, the tumour weighed 6.6lbs (3.3kg).
Three months after surgery, Mr Espino is recovering remarkably well and getting used to his new face.
He said: ‘The recovery in hospital was difficult because I had tubes inserted for the reconstruction of my nostrils. When I drank water it hurt.
‘I was used to sleeping in a sitting position all the time and now I sleep normally and my nose is not blocked.
‘I could feel a big difference. It was actually very funny.
‘It was like my head would go one way and my body would go the other. Because I was so used to having a weight there.’
Mr Espino’s father said: ‘I’ve been through all his surgeries and to my eyes this was the most difficult, and probably the most painful for him. The recovery took longer and it was more aggressive and invasive.’
Mr Espino’s face still needs reconstruction surgery, but for now, he has big plans for the future.
He said: ‘Firstly I would like to finish my studies and publish my book which I’ve been longing for. I want to carry on with my music.’
Body Bizarre is on Saturdays at 10pm on TLC UK.