FOUNTAIN VALLEY ( — In the womb, a tumor was growing on the side of his neck that was as big as his head.

It took five delicate hours of post-birth surgery to remove the tumor.

To look at him now, you’d never know 7-month-old Wyatt James Dunbar of Fountain Valley was something of a medical miracle.

Surgeons at UC Irvine Medical Center saved little Dunbar’s life.

CBS2 and KCAL9’s Melissa Maynarich talked to his happy parents, Ashley and Jeff Dunbar. They report he is sitting up and “gnawing on everything in sight.”

Says Ashley, “Statistically, he should have been paralyzed on his face, never been able to smile, had to have a trach for years. But … he’s perfect.”

Wyatt Dunbar was born with a tumor on his neck that was as large as his head. (credit: Wyatt Family.)

Wyatt Dunbar was born with a tumor on his neck that was as large as his head. (credit: Wyatt Family.)

In utero, a rapidly growing tumor threatened his very existence. Says Jeff, “We could have lost him on the first day. It could have been nine months of carrying him and then … no more baby.”

Wyatt was delivered by C-section on May 16th.

A team of specialists delivered his head and arm first and then put a tube down his nose to let him breathe.

Two weeks after he was born, surgeons removed the large tumor. Dr. Manuel Porto headed the operation.

He said removing the terratoma (a large tumor that can contain hair and even teeth) was a delicate procedure. “What was challenging and unique about this mass was how rapidly it progressed in size to the point that it was larger than the baby’s head.”

Ashley and Jeff are having trouble remembering what their baby looked like before his life-saving operation.

Beams a smiling Jeff, “He is truly a miracle and there is nothing else other to say, it was a miracle that the doctors were able to do such a good job.”


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