Marlie Casseus
J. Pat Carter  /  AP file
Marlie Casseus, 15, sisters Ginette and Gina Eugene and Casseus' mother, Maleine Antoine, right, attend a news conference on Thursday, Sept. 28 at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami.
updated 10/6/2006 10:34:37 AM ET 2006-10-06T14:34:37

A Haitian teen whose facial features were once grossly distorted by a massive growth has undergone her fourth reconstructive surgery.

Marlie Casseus, 15, was in critical but stable condition Friday at Holtz Children’s Hospital, officials said.

During the nearly six-hour surgery Thursday, doctors replaced a titanium plate previously implanted in her jaw. Once she recovers, she will learn to swallow and speak again — functions that were halted by a 16-pound tumor-like growth that engulfed her face.

Dr. Jesus Gomez, a maxillofacial surgeon at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has said the surgery will be Marlie’s last for now, though she may need more cosmetic surgeries when she stops growing.

In three surgeries in the past year, doctors removed the growth, narrowed the separation between her eyes and lips and rebuilt the interior of her nose and jaw.

Marlie suffers from a rare form of polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, a nonhereditary, genetic disease that causes bone to swell and become jelly- like. The mass once stretched Marlie’s facial features so far apart that only her eyes, nostrils and a single tooth were recognizable. Doctors have said the lesion is not expected to grow back once she completes puberty.

The hospital’s International Kids Fund, which seeks to provide medical care for needy children from around the world, is asking for donations to continue Marlie’s care. The Haitian nonprofit Good Samaritan for a Better Life helped bring the teen to the United States.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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