Doctors Successfully Perform First Tumor-Removal Surgery on a Fetus

During a routine ultrasound of her baby, Tammy Gonzalez and her doctors in Miami noticed what appeared to be a bubble protruding from her baby’s mouth. The tennis-ball sized mass was actually a very rare tumor that was likely to endanger the fetus’s life upon birth, at the very least requiring an immediate tracheotomy and multiple surgeries.

Baby Leyna Gonzalez in utero with the tumor  Doctors Successfully Perform First Tumor Removal Surgery on a Fetus Photo

Baby Leyna Gonzalez in utero with the tumor (

In order to give her daughter the best chance at survival, Gonzalez sought the help of Dr. Ruben Quintero and Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulous, fetal surgeons at the University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital.  The doctors agreed to attempt to surgically remove the tumor endoscopically and guided by ultrasound while the baby was still in utero – as Gonzalez was awake and watching.

Despite the risk associated with this unprecedented surgery, Drs. Quintero and Kontopoulous successfully removed the life-threatening tumor, and baby Leyna was born on October 1, 2010 at a healthy 8 pounds, 1 ounce.

Today, Leyna is an energetic toddler with only a small scar as a reminder of the ground-breaking surgery that saved her life before it even began.

To learn more about Dr. Ruben Quintero an OB/GYN with 25 years’ experience, view his Vitals profile.