Sarah, 7, broke out her favorite color pencils and began to draw. She wasn’t working on just any old project, she was working on a thank you card for her doctor.

Sarah and doctorTwo years later and David Tahour, M.D. still has that thank you card. He still remembers the day Sarah and her family came to MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.

In February 2016, Sarah was referred to Miller Children’s & Women’s Ear, Nose and Throat Program by her pediatrician after her parents, Eric and Doreen, noticed a mass started forming on her neck.

Miller Children’s & Women’s shares a campus with MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center. The interventional radiology care team that supports both hospitals is one of the only imaging centers in the area that uses the latest technological advances and techniques to perform minimally invasive diagnostics and treatment.

Dr. Tahour, a board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist, specializes in using image-guidance technology to perform minimally invasive procedures to treat diseases in children and adults. Because of his expertise, Dr. Tahour was brought in by the Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon right away and was able to diagnose Sarah with a lymphatic malformation, a rare non-malignant mass that forms most often in the neck and face area of children and is usually apparent at birth but in some cases can swell up as the child grows.

“Because of the proximity to the face, the larger surgery that is typically needed to remove the malformation can cause some disfigurement and leave a noticeable scar,” says Dr. Tahour. “We planned out a non-invasive approach through a 2 - 3 mm incision that would leave Sarah without a scar.”

Eric and Doreen were assured by Dr. Tahour and his team that the procedure was a safer option than traditional surgery and that Sarah would be able to go home that same day instead of having to stay overnight in the hospital.

“We never felt worried and were reassured by the care team that Sarah’s condition wasn’t life-threatening,” says Eric. “It was a quick and easy experience and we felt better that Sarah could come home after.”

Dr. Tahour was able to safely remove the lymphatic malformation using image-guided percutaneous sclerosis, or drainage of the mass. The minimally invasive procedure to remove the malformation was more complicated due to the location near major facial structures and blood vessels, requiring an advanced level of precision.

Sarah's letter

Sarah was able to return home with her parents after the procedure to her two little brothers. The recovery process was quick and easy at home with her family, and Sarah only had to go in for one quick follow up procedure a few weeks later.

Thanks to the specialized care of Dr. Tahour and the care team at Miller Children’s & Women’s, Sarah went back to her favorite activities in no time.

“Sarah loves riding horses, swimming, her dolls. She’s a great big sister to her two little brothers,” says Eric. “We are so proud of her for never letting the procedure hold her back from horseback riding and everything she loves to do.”