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.
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.
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.Suggest a correction