Photo Credit: Mia Tsaban, Baruch Padeh Medical Center, Poriya
R-L: Dr. Imad Abu al-Naj, Bat-El Goldberg, Dr. Amin Abu Jabel

“I received my life back as a gift and now my life is more beautiful than it was before the disease,” said Bat-El Goldberg, a student from Afula, Israel, who had undergone a long and complex surgery to remove malignant tumor from tongue, followed by tongue restoration at the Baruch Padeh Medical Center, Poriya, Tiberias.

Two months ago, Bat-El-Goldberg, 25, was at a precipice. After a month of an unexplained sore throat, she went to a dentist who diagnosed an ulcer in the tongue and referred her to Dr. Imad Abu al-Na’aj, head of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department at the Padeh-Poriya Medical Center.

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“We discovered a 4-cm-wide ulcer on the right side of the tongue, which raised an immediate suspicion that it was a cancerous tumor,” Explained Dr. Abu al-Na’aj.

In a rapid procedure, a biopsy was checked and when the results returned, it became clear that it was Carcinoma, a type of cancer that develops from epithelial cells (cells in the outer layer of a body’s surface).

“We decided to operate without stalling,” said Dr. Abu al-Na’aj, “When it comes to a 25-year-old girl with a malignancy, we take it as a special operation. Everyone in all the departments are enlisted: the patient, the family, the plastic surgeon, Dr. Abu Jabel, the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the departments of anesthesia, intensive care, imaging…”

“We went in for surgery in the morning and we left in the evening,” recalled Dr. Amin Abu Jabel, the expert in plastic surgery and reconstructive microvascular surgery.

During the complex and prolonged surgery, the team headed by Dr. Abu al-Najaj performed the cutting of half the tongue, and clearing all the lymph nodes in the neck (to prevent lymphatic dissipation from the primary tumor within the lymph nodes of the neck).

At the same time, Dr. Abu Jabel performed a reconstruction of the tongue. “We took tissue from her thigh and moved it with the blood vessels that feed it to the area that was cut in the tongue, and then we restored the tongue and connected the blood vessels under a microscope,” Dr. Abu Jabel explained.

“Within a few days I started to recover,” Bat-El reported. “Today, two weeks after the surgery, I feel good, can talk, can eat almost everything, I have an appetite.”

“The staff here enveloped me with dedication and professionalism that I had never encountered before,” she added. “In the days following the operation, the interns arrived every hour, day and night, to examine me…”

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