Ariana on her scooter, holding an arm up in the air

Meet Ariana

Ariana Plafadellis is proud that doctors at the Royal Children’s Hospital took a chance on her little body.

She knows that because of her, other kids are now able to have the special operation she did.

The now 9-year-old was wheeled into surgery in 2016 after doctors found a mass buried in her lungs.

But instead of opening up her chest and removing part of the lung to get to the growth, a highly-skilled team of surgeons performed an endobronchial ultrasound, which had previously only been carried out on adults.

“The placement of the mass was in a tricky position — they couldn’t just remove it, they would have to take out parts of the lung to get the biopsy,” mum Lisa Plafadellis says.

“Instead they put her under and went through her throat to get through a tiny tube (in the lung) with a needle to get the biopsy.”

Plafadellis says life stopped for the family watching their little girl whisked away for the hospital-first procedure.

But the results were life-changing.

“In the end that procedure was still inconclusive but it was enough for the surgeon and paediatrician John Mass to say it doesn’t look as harmful as we had imagined.

“This biopsy gave them the confidence that they could sit on it — monitor, with regular X-rays, to see if it would grow.

“And then last year we got the news that we didn’t need to keep checking on it.

“And now she’s awesome. She tries everything. She gives anything a go.”

Originally published in the Herald Sun, April 4, 2020
Words: Alanah Frost
Images: Alex Coppel

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