Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 16:45 UK

Iraqi boy's tumour removed in UK

Saif Basim
Surgeons believed Saif had only months to live

A large potentially fatal tumour has been removed from the face of an Iraqi boy at a London hospital.

Three-year-old Saif Basim, from Baghdad, had the tumour since he was six months old. As it grew larger it made breathing and moving difficult.

He was taken to St George's Hospital in Tooting, south-west London, for surgery which successfully removed it.

Surgeon Graham Smith said: "I'm pleased with how it went. Now Saif is looking forward to going home on Saturday."

Maxillofacial surgeon Mr Smith met Saif in Baghdad during a teaching trip in April.

"Saif's tumour was squashing his windpipe and had destroyed part of his jaw and cheekbone, preventing him from opening and closing his mouth," Mr Smith said.

"It urgently needed to be removed - if we had left it Saif would have only lived a few more months.

"But the surgery was high risk and the facilities in Baghdad would have made it difficult to deal with any possible complications, so we brought him to London."

Reconstructed face

Last month Mr Smith and fellow surgeon Nick Hyde removed the tumour, which weighed 750g.

They also reconstructed Saif's face using one of his ribs and a pectoral muscle.

Saif subsequently suffered a chest infection but he recovered and is due to return to Baghad on Saturday.

The surgeons now need to raise £30,000 to cover the cost of the surgery, via the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

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