Matteo DiMartino defied all odds, carrying half of his body weight on his arms and large

At just 13 weeks pregnant, Franco and Christina DiMartino received devastating news: their unborn baby had a large cyst the size of his head and only a 9% chance of survival until birth. Despite these daunting odds, they chose to continue the pregnancy, holding onto hope and faith.

Their son, Matteo DiMartino, was born with an abnormally large mass spanning his chest and left arm, comprising up to 50% of his body weight and weighing over 3 pounds. The months leading up to his birth were fraught with sleepless nights and endless worry for his parents.

Matteo’s Condition

Matteo’s condition was diagnosed as a rare type of Lymphatic Malformation, a complex network of micro and macro cysts filled with fluid that developed while he was still in the womb. This malformation caused several complications:

  • Permanent 90-Degree Angle: His left arm remained at a permanent 90-degree angle.
  • Restricted Movement: Movement in his neck and head was severely restricted.
  • Recurring Infections: He was subjected to recurring skin infections due to the malformation.

The Surgery

Despite these challenges, Matteo underwent a successful seven-hour surgery at just six months old to debulk and reconstruct the affected area. The surgery also involved excising a chronic draining wound. Dr. Milton Warner from Lenox Hill Hospital led the surgery and expressed optimism about Matteo’s future, noting significant progress and bright prospects ahead.

Post-Surgery Developments

Post-surgery genetic testing revealed that Matteo harbored a rare mutation of the overgrowth gene, PIK3CA, which is associated with many cancers. However, the mass has since significantly decreased in size, and the draining portion of his malformation was completely excised. This reduction in the mass has lowered the risk of infection and allowed Matteo full bodily function and mobility.


The story of Matteo DiMartino is one of hope, resilience, and medical triumph. From a bleak prognosis before birth to a successful surgery and promising recovery, Matteo’s journey highlights the power of medical science and the unwavering strength of parental love and faith. Despite the challenges, Matteo’s progress offers a hopeful outlook for his future, emphasizing the remarkable possibilities of overcoming severe medical conditions with determination and advanced healthcare.

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