Robot used to remove child’s tumour in Australian-first operation

In an Australian first, a Melbourne surgeon has used a robot to remove a child's rare and deadly tumour - and the complex operation has given new hope to a brave little girl.

Freyja Christiansen is recovering well after making medical history.

The six-year-old is all smiles after surgeons removed cancerous tumours from her neck, then used a sophisticated robot to extract a large malignant mass at the back of her throat.

Freyja Christiansen is all smiles and recovering well after the Australia-first robotic surgery. Source: 7 News

"Within six weeks of having a consultation you know tumours are gone, it's a miracle," mum Liz Christiansen said.

The Canberra girl was diagnosed with aggressive clear cell sarcoma in 2016.

Dozens of doctors told her desperate mother the large tumour was inaccessible and surgery was too dangerous.

Freyja was diagnosed with aggressive clear cell sarcoma in 2016 . Source: 7 News

"We went all over the world, looking, asking, begging, trying to do what we could to find a solution," Ms Christiansen said.

"We were told, inoperable, incurable."

"We were told inoperable, incurable," Freyja's mother Liz said. Source: 7 News

Ironically, specialists at a children's hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, told the family a solution was right on their doorstep, with robotic technology at Melbourne's Epworth Hospital likely to be Freyja's only chance.

The Da Vinci Robot's 3D camera gave surgeons a perfect view of the tumour and its tiny flexible arms allowed them unprecedented access.

The robot's 3D camera gave a perfect view of the tumour's location. Source: 7 News

"This is the first time trans-oral robotic surgery has been done on a child in Australia," Dr Ben Dixon said.

"It has been done elsewhere in other countries, but only a couple of times for malignant tumours and none in this position."

Little Freyja has recovered well and is almost ready to go home.

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