The story about a 3-year-old Brazilian girl who had a large, rare tumor removed from her face by doctors in Shreveport is making national headlines.

It all started when Dr. Celso Palmieri at LSU Health Shreveport was reading an online publication from his home country. He says he ran across a Brazilian article about little Melyssa Delgado Braga.

“When I was reading more about her tumor, I realized that our department, and mostly and especially Dr. Ghali of course, could help Melyssa,” Palmieri said.

Melyssa Delgado Braga (

Palmieri says he found the family on Facebook after only an hour of searching and was able to contact them that way. Dr. G.E. Ghali is the chair of the Department of oral and facial surgery at the hospital. He diagnosed Melyssa with a benign tumor that is locally very aggressive.

“If you look at pictures before surgery, you can see that this tumor has pretty much eaten away her entire jaw,” Ghali said.

They say several organizations, doctors, and the community came together to help the family get here. While Melyssa will still require some follow up surgeries as she gets older, doctors say she now has full use of her tongue unlike before. Ghali says she had been well on her way to becoming a malnourished child because of the tumor.

“It was beginning to affect her breathing, and finally when we were able to remove this tumor, this tumor weighed over five pounds,” Ghali said.


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