Saving Face: Queens Girl Treated for Rare, Facial Venous Malformation at Cohen Children’s Medical Center

New Hyde Park, NY - Almost 2-year-old Camila Alzate and her family from Queens, NY, are grateful to surgeons at Cohen Children's Medical Center (CCMC), a member of Northwell Health, for having successfully treated Camila for a rare type of venous malformation (VM), a non-malignant mass consisting of large dilated veins involving almost all of the right side of her right face.

The lesion had grown since Camila's birth and if left untreated, it could have interfered with the normal development of her craniofacial structures.

Post surgery, the surgeons were able to completely remove the tumor involving the upper half of her face, without extreme blood loss or injury to the facial nerves.

"It is really surprising to see the changes that my daughter has had due to these treatments," said Mrs. Alzate, Camila's mother. "We are very happy and grateful to Camila's doctors for their knowledge, dedication and unconditional support."

Soon after birth, Camila and her family met with CCMC's pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgeon Nicholas Bastidas, MD and Rafael Ortiz, MD, chief of neuro-endovascular surgery and interventional neuroradiology at Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health.

When Camila was 5 months old, her first treatment (sclerotherapy) was performed by Dr. Ortiz.

"With sclerotherapy, a needle is inserted into the venous malformation under X-ray and ultrasound guidance, and medications are infused to shrink the abnormal blood vessels and reduce the size and appearance of the malformation," said Dr. Ortiz. "This makes it a safer and more effective procedure while protecting the critical structures of the face at the same time."

Camila's combined treatment of sclerotherapy and surgical removal of the lesion was performed at CCMC on February 8, 2016. In the hospital's hybrid operating room, Dr. Ortiz performed the sclerotherapy using a medication called STS, which was injected into the large dilated veins, causing the walls of the abnormal veins to collapse.

Upon completion of the sclerotherapy, Dr. Bastidas and pediatric otolaryngologist, Jeffrey A. Cheng, MD then surgically removed the lesion, pausing to allow further injections when significant bleeding was encountered.

"This hybrid approach is unique in that it allows the surgeon and the interventionalist to remove large and complicated vascular malformations in a single session and reduces the risk of significant bleeding," said Dr. Bastidas. "Only a handful of institutions in the world offer hybrid surgery for the treatment of vascular malformations, and CCMC has a dedicated operating room for such purposes."

For more information about CCMC, click here. For Lenox Hill's Center for Cerebrovascular Surgery and Endovascular Neurosurgery, call 212-434-3900. For Pediatric Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery, call 212-485-0616.

About Northwell Health
Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System) is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer. With 21 hospitals and nearly 450 outpatient practices, we serve 1.8 million people in the metro New York area and beyond. Our 61,000 employees work to change health care for the better. We're making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our services in more than 100 medical specialties, visit


About Lenox Hill Hospital

Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan's Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the nation's top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 "high performing" designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to


About the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York
Opened in 1983, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York is home to about 675 pediatricians, including 200 full-time physicians, and a total workforce of more than 1,200, including more than 500 nurses. For the ninth consecutive year in 2015, CCMC was ranked among the best children's hospitals in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2014-15 "America’s Best Children's Hospitals" survey.

Focus onHealth TV

Watch Focus onHealth, Northwell Health's TV show. It's the healthy way to stay informed!