Stories about: fibroadipose vascular anomaly

Traveling 2,700 miles to save Jesus’s arm

20140203_Jesus-10When you talk to Jesus Barradas, he is like any other 16-year-old boy, into music, soccer, video games and television.

But when the Veracruz, Mexico native raises his left arm, you can see that something isn’t right. The forearm is much larger than his right. His left hand is swollen, the fingers curled into a near-permanent claw shape, and he holds it gingerly, almost cradling it protectively.

Jesus was born with a vascular malformation in his arm called FAVA (fibroadipose vascular anomaly), which keeps blood from draining properly out of the tissues of his forearm. It’s both physically and emotionally painful, and throughout his childhood, it became the source of endless taunting and ridicule.

For years, every doctor who saw Jesus said the only thing they could do was amputate his arm. But Jesus’s parents refused to believe this outcome was inevitable. They kept searching, talking to more doctors, seeking more opinions. Their search finally led them to Boston Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center (VAC), where surgeon Joseph Upton, MD, gave them the best option they’d had in years: hope. 

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