STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — When 13-thirty day period-previous Victoria Klimek’s pink, heart-shaped birthmark on the again of her head began expanding alternatively quickly, her family members did not know wherever to convert.
They eventually identified Dr. Gregory Levitin, a board-qualified otolaryngologist and a fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Medical procedures — and the director of Vascular Birthmarks and Malformations at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, who taken off the large tumor from the couple’s initial-born baby.
They were being advised that the substantial tumor is among the was most hard to do the job with due to the fact it is basically built up of blood vessels.
“One wrong go and you can reduce catastrophic amounts of blood,” Levitin mentioned, noting that he operated millimeter by millimeter and dropped a lot less than a teaspoon of blood.
“There was almost nothing suspicious,’’ the relieved mom, Iwona Klimek, stories. “And the scar will be invisible within a number of months. Dr. Levitin is so wonderful and is so delighted with this situation. He suggests it was tremendous difficult because of to the area. But the treatment was a huge good results.”
The initially baby born to Iwona and Pawel Klimek, Victoria was delivered prematurely soon after only 36 weeks and just one working day of gestation. The few had immigrated from Bukowsko, Poland, a tiny city in the province of Podkarpacie, some 13 years back. And Iwona confided that it experienced taken 5 many years for her to conceive.
Through her pregnancy, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia, a situation characterised by high blood force, at times with fluid retention and proteinuria (protein in the urine.)
Even though the infant was born prematurely and experienced yellow jaundice for a shorter time, she was healthier with no other healthcare situations.
In recounting her coronary heart-wrenching knowledge, Iwona said that soon after performing some investigation she understood that premature infants are frequently identified with hemangioma birthmarks.
Victoria created her debut into the earth on April 30 of very last calendar year in St. Anthony’s Neighborhood Clinic in Warwick, N.Y., not as well much from a dwelling the Klimeks experienced rented in Vernon, N.J.
The few, who’ve termed Shore Acres home considering that past March, experienced reservations about their infant becoming born on Staten Island during the spring of last yr when the coronavirus was raging. They felt it was safer to briefly relocate to Upper New York point out, where they identified a health practitioner and a close by medical center.
Victoria’s ailment was identified in St. Anthony’s Neighborhood Hospital, where they uncovered the vascular birthmark.
“It was flat and purple then, and smaller, but they told me it would start off to mature,” reported Iwona. “Most of the birthmarks are flat and pink, but this one particular was various. And when it started out to mature, we went to a doctor in Brooklyn, who ongoing to measure it with every single visit. The physician mentioned it would improve and then stop. And it stopped developing when Victoria was eight months aged.”
And with that, Iwona grew much more and more worried.
“I didn’t like how it looked so I begun to do extra study myself,” she ongoing.
She observed a medical professional who recommended Propranolol, a heart medication which is taken orally and made use of to take care of infantile benign hemangioma growths or tumors showing up on or under the pores and skin shortly just after beginning.
“They mentioned it would shrink and the red element would would be saggy and eventually my baby would require the operation in any case,” she mentioned.
Iwona in no way administered the drug.
“She was healthy and her heart was nutritious, the mom reported. “So I located moms and dads groups on Facebook for hemangioma infants. I asked it there was a superior health care provider in New York City and if any person knew of a single. And I discovered two medical professionals. And equally of them mentioned the exact thing. And I even consulted with a medical doctor in my country right after finding a Polish group on Fb. He was a surgeon and I emailed him a image.”
A Sophisticated Surgery
Soon after completely accomplishing her research, Iwona situated Levitin, who is usually sought out for his skills. He has been recognized as 1 of “America’s Prime Doctors” for the last 10 yrs and is the author or co-writer of various publications and nationwide journal content in the area of hemangiomas and vascular malformations — and has presented his function at several national and worldwide meetings.
Iwona phoned Levitin and they followed with a video session.
“When he noticed her, he reported, ‘remove it,’ and that she was a perfect age to have it accomplished,’’ recalled Iwona.
Victoria’s surgery was performed on May perhaps 18, took a small above an hour and went incredibly very well.
One out of just about every 10 little ones are born with this situation, the surgeon said. But what’s not as frequent is when the hemangioma grows immediately and as significantly as it did in this situation.
“Hemangiomas are benign and they only improve for the very first 9 to 12 months of everyday living,” Levitin pointed out, “And you can look at them for the initially year and they from time to time lower in size and colour and some fade away. And 80 per cent are on the head and neck spot and they expand speedily. And this is one thing that obtained worse overnight. This circumstance was one particular of these abnormal types that grows fairly large.”
There is no crystal ball to predict which ones will develop and which ones will continue to be smaller, he stated.
“So that was the obstacle for this,’’ the surgeon said. “It experienced previously grown fairly massive. And at that point it no for a longer time could be addressed with drugs or laser. It was a surgical circumstance. It had by now developed to an impressively massive tumor. And I understood it was not heading away. If I remaining it alone, she would often have it.
“I was in a position to twist my pores and skin flaps and develop a pattern that went all together the hair line,’’ he said. “Really, no textual content book that tells you how to do this. I like to say it is like snow flakes – no two are alike. That is also the problem and it was a thrill for me. And it is what just about every youngster deserves. I get outstanding outcomes. I am so proud of this one,” he mentioned.
Ironically, Levitin has a deep-rooted compassion for infants with vascular birthmarks. He supported his individual younger daughter — who’s now 20 — by medical and laser therapy, as nicely as surgical therapy for the situation. And it was this practical experience that inspired Levitin to go after a job concentrated on the helpful treatment method of vascular birthmarks like hemangiomas, port-wine stains, venous malformations and arteriovenous malformations. And he would get the job done along with his daughter’s surgeon.
Victoria is now carrying out doing beautifully and has a new possibility at everyday living without the disfigurement. Her relatives is now focused to increasing awareness about vascular birthmarks and the great importance of addressing them early.
“She’s going for walks and functioning,’’ her mother stated. “We have to capture her. She suggests ‘Mama, Dadda,’ and asks for her bottle. Her stitches were the types that dissolve and we will see the doctor at the finish of the thirty day period. We sent him a photograph a several days back. He advised us she can even go into a pool and there is no problem with finding it moist.”
The dad and mom want to share their journey so families in equivalent situations can seek out right care, as a large amount of family members really do not know wherever to change.
Iwona, a bookkeeper and Pawel, a plumber, visit loved ones in Poland pretty much every yr. But, considering the fact that this yr was unusual since of the coronavirus pandemic, neither established of grandparents has found Victoria in man or woman.
“The operation was performed suitable right after her birthday on April 30,’’ Iwona mentioned. “It’s the greatest birthday reward we could have asked for and also an amazing Father’s Working day reward for Dad.”