It may have been the largest tumour in the world. But now it is gone: Doctors successfully removed the mass during an intensive, six-hour operation on Valentine’s Day.
Trimurti Nadkarni, head of the neurosurgery department at Nair Hospital in Mumbai, told the Indian Express that a tumour “sat like a head on top of another head.” Surgeons “had to cut through the bone,” Nadkarni said. “The sheer size of a tumour was a challenge, and we had to ensure blood pressure was maintained while surgery was on.”
More than a week after the surgery, Nadkarni told BBC News that Pal, a 31-year-old shopkeeper in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is “out of danger. Now it’s a matter of recovery.”
The Hindu news site reported that Pal’s brain tumour had been growing for several years – most rapidly in the past year. The mass was clinging to the back of Pal’s head; his skull and hair grew over the top of it. The mass appeared as large or larger than Santlal Pal’s head.
Following treatment, including chemotherapy, the mass continued to grow, Akhilesh Pal said. “He would feel a heaviness in his head, which ached constantly, and his vision was blurred,” he told the newspaper.
Pal’s wife, Manju, told The Hindu that the couple consulted several doctors in Uttar Pradesh but were told that a tumour was inoperable.
Doctors said about 10 percent of a tumour was growing within Pal’s skull, putting pressure on his brain and causing him to lose his eyesight; if not treated successfully, it could have caused neurological damage or paralysis.
Surgeons at Nair Hospital took it on.
“We had to cut open the scalp and remove a tumour,” Nadkarni, the neurosurgeon, told the Hindu. “The part of a tumour within the skull was removed by making an opening in the skull.”
Nadkarni said Pal received 11 units of blood during the operation and that, for three days following the procedure, he had to be on a ventilator to breathe. “Such cases are critical,” the surgeon told the BBC.