Indian surgeons remove world's 'largest brain tumour'

Posted February 23, 2018

"The tumor was so big that it appeared as if a second head was mounted on top of the patient's head", Srikanth Balasubramaniam, a senior surgeon who was part of the operating team, told DW news service.

Mumbai: Indian surgeons who removed a massive brain tumour in a marathon seven-hour procedure said Thursday they believe it could be the heaviest ever recorded.

Uttar Pradesh resident, 31-year-old Santlal Pal, a cloth vendor was unaware of the largest tumor that was growing in his head and lived with it for six years. At the moment, Mr. Pal is recuperating in the hospital's ICU.

"It was an extremely daunting and complex surgery", the hospital's head of neurosurgery Trimurti Nadkarni said.

"We have checked all the available medical texts". Fortunately, only 10% of the tumour grew within the skull. Though he is still blind, the team hopes that Mr Pal will regain vision as swelling in his brain, caused by the body responding to the trauma of surgery, continues to go down over time. They added that if it had continued, it could have resulted in full paralysis and neurological damage.

In addition to cutting away the growth, doctors had to remove skull bone that had moved into the brain. "We had to cut through the bone".

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Santlal Pal before undergoing surgery to remove the brain tumor.

"Such cases are critical", said Dr Nadkarni, adding that Mr Pal needed 11 units of blood during the operation and after that, he was connected to a ventilator for a few days after the surgery. Pal's wife said that they approached three hospitals for help, but the doctors had all told them the tumor was inoperable. Manju said, "We are praying that he regains his vision".

The tumor has been sent for tests to detect malignancy (a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without any control and can occupy tissues that are near them), The Hindu reported.

The surgeons say it far outweighed the previous biggest brain tumour at 1.4kg (3.1lbs).

In 2008, doctors at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi had removed a brain tumor, which was 78 cubic inches, or the size of two baseballs, from a woman.