A woman born without a tongue has undergone groundbreaking surgery to regain basic mouth function.

Brazilian 23-year-old Auristela Viana da Silva has spent years struggling to eat, speak and breath, according to a recent ITN video report (above).

Since the operation, Viana da Silva is now able to talk and chew, according to a report by American news channel New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television.

"I am able to speak better, to chew better, and also to communicate better," said Auriestela. "Today I'm studying, I lead a normal life, and ready to face the challenges, I like challenges."

The decision to carry out the surgery came after more than a decade of ineffective treatments.

tongue no

Auristela was born without a tongue

Doctors created more space inside Auristela's mouth by expanding her chin and jaw. The procedure took two operations, with the young woman having to wear braces for a period.

LIKE HUFFPOST UK LIFESTYLE ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

The woman's first doctor, Frederick Salles, said he was surprised by her condition when he first met her:

"At the time, with 30 years of experience, I'd never seen anything like it. When she opened her mouth and we saw no tongue, I thought 'how can she still be alive?'"

There are only three known cases in the world similar to Auristela.

Also on HuffPost: Plastic Surgery Gone Sour

Loading Slideshow...
  • Heidi Montag's Plastic Surgery Prevented Her From Hugging

    Reality star Heidi Montag says she is happy with her new body, but there are certain things she can't do any longer, according to Us Weekly. Jogging -- since her new breasts are size E or F, and hugging. "I'm very weird about hugging people now -- [my body] is very fragile," she told US Weekly. She also told the tabloid she had a total of ten procedures, but she wasn't sure exactly what they were.

  • Bruce Jenner's Plastic Surgery Obsession

    Maybe living with the Kardashians made Jenner care about his appearance a little<em> too</em> much. He has reportedly gone under the knife to thin his nose, define his jaw, and keep his skin taut. He hardly looks like the Jenner we saw on the Wheaties box years ago.

  • Kris Jenner's Major Facelift

    For Kim's wedding, Kris famously got a facelift on the E! reality show. However, then a skincare line called Frownies <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/kris-jenner-facelift-lawsuit_n_1496837.html" target="_blank">sued Jenner for broadcasting that she got a facelift</a> when she was supposed to be promoting the anti-aging treatment.

  • Pete Burns' Deadly Lip Injections

    You can tell he's a plastic surgery addict. However, it was his lip injects that really messed up this singer. They got infected and he wasn't treated properly. He has said about the incident, "My doctor punctured it and the yellow dishcarge that came out filled two mugs. I was put on antibiotics but my whole face began to swell. I was housebound for nine months and couldn't move my head - discharge would pour out."

  • Tara Reid's Stomach and Breasts

    Poor Reid has had many mishaps with plastic surgery. She had a botched stomach and lop-sided breasts that apparently were fixed in 2006.

  • Botched Surgery Leaves Woman With 'Uniboob'

    When Dinora Rodriguez, 40, went under the knife for a breast enhancement operation, what she got was something out of a horror movie, the Daily Mail reported.

  • Ashley Simpson's Nose Job

    We think she looked perfectly fine, if not more natural, with her previous nose.

  • Woman Can't Close Her Eyes After Plastic Surgery

    A New Jersey woman is suing her doctor, claiming she cannot fully <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/03/29/woman-unable-to-close-eyes-now-suing-n-j-plastic-surgeon/" target="_hplink">close her eyes </a>after a cosmetic procedure, according to CBS.

  • Courtney Love's Change

    Her face lift and lip injections made her face look lopsided!

  • Women Injects Herself With Cooking Oil

    In 2008, a Korean woman addicted to plastic surgery <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3439638/Cosmetic-surgery-addict-injected-cooking-oil-into-her-own-face.html" target="_hplink">injected cooking oil into her face</a>, according to the Telegraph.<br> After Moiku's story made headlines worldwide, viewers sent donations to enable her to reduce the size of her face. During the first procedure, surgeons removed 60 grams of foreign substance from her face and 200 grams from her neck, according to the Telegraph.

  • Woman Dies After Illegal Butt Implant

    Twenty-year-old Claudia Aderotimi died after receiving an <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1355080/Claudia-Aderotimi-thought-illegal-implant-make-hip-hop-star.html" target="_hplink">illegal butt implant </a>in a Philadelphia hotel room, according to the Daily Mail.<br> The British student thought a "butt enhancement" would start her hip-hop career, according to the Daily Mail.

  • Women Injects Heated Beef Fat To Face

    A 63-year-old face surgery addict died after<a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2035595/Facial-surgery-enthusiast-Janet-Hardt-63-dies-injecting-heated-beef-fat-face.html" target="_hplink"> injecting heated beef fat </a>around her mouth and chin, according to The Daily Mail. <br> Janet Hardt died from a bacterial infection that weakened her colon, but the injection itself didn't cause death, a coroner said. In fact, Hardt had done this procedure several times in the past.

  • Dolly Parton

    While we don't really have a problem with her famous breasts, we do think she should learn to let her face age gracefully.

  • Janice Dickinson

    Once again, stars need to learn how to age gracefully. The more plastic surgery one gets, the faker one looks.

  • Woman Dies After Illegal Liposuction

    Fabiola DePaula, 24, died after receiving an<a href="http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/08/01/a_death_after_liposuction_exposes_busy_illegal_clinic/" target="_hplink"> illegal liposuction procedure</a> for $3,000, according to The Boston Globe. Luiz Carlos Ribeiro and Ana Maria Miranda Ribeiro were charged with <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-07-31-lipo-death_x.htm" target="_hplink">practicing medicine without a licence</a>, according to USA Today.

  • Woman's Lips Swell To Four Times Original Size

    Laura Summers, 27, woke up after a <a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/real_life/4463217/Models-lips-swelled-to-four-times-their-normal-size-after-botched-jab.html" target="_hplink">£200 lip injection with lips that had swelled to four times their original size</a> according to The Sun magazine. Summers has spent over £60,000 on plastic surgery procedures but has <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/31/laura-summers-lip-injections-surgery-photos_n_1723651.html?utm_hp_ref=style" target="_hplink">decided to stop</a>, saying, "I played Russian roulette with my health and my looks and I will never do it ever again." (Instagram)

  • LaToya Jackson

    With each new facelift and botox treatment, Jackson looks less and less real.

  • Lisa Rinna

    She needs to stop getting lip injections.

  • Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong

    Rubber cement facial injections? Superglue sutures? The Doctors weigh in on toxic and illegal cosmetic treatments that are making headlines across the country.