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A weight off their mind: World’s largest brain tumour removed in India

Copyright: <a href=''>chanawit / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

The world’s largest brain tumour removal has been performed in India, by surgeons at the charitable BYL Nair Hospital in Mumbai.

The tumour, weighing in at 1.87kg was removed from 31-year-old Santlal Pal. He had been refused admission to a number of hospitals in his native Uttar Pradesh. Hospitals in both Allahabad and Varanasi had claimed that the surgery was far too risky, leaving them unwilling to perform it.

‘Two heads mounted on top of each other’

Pal was admitted to the department of neurosurgery at the BYL Nair Hospital on February 1. By this stage Pal was suffering from blindness in both eyes as well as severe headaches.

The tumour had grown in size to the point that a growth approaching the size of Pal’s head was swelling out of the back of his skull. Doctors were alarmed, as such a case is almost unprecedented. “It appeared as if he had two heads mounted on top of each other” claimed one of the doctors.

Surgery took place on February 14, taking seven hours in what doctors described as an “extremely daunting and complex surgery”. Pal required eleven units of blood and was kept on a ventilator for three days following the procedure. Doctors say he is now stable and not in any danger, and it is now a matter of allowing him to recover.

Following the surgery doctors researched previous records for brain tumours. It was found that the closest contender weighed in at 1.4kg and was removed at the KEM hospital in Pune in 2002.

No stranger to record-sized tumours

These kinds of surgery are risky due to the potential for huge volumes of blood loss. Blood vessels will be found throughout the tumour, as such any incision could cause severe blood loss resulting in the death of the patient.

Prior to surgery a considerable amount of preparation occurred in order to prevent this. A specialised CT angiography was performed which allowed hospital staff to visualise blood vessels throughout the tumour. Using this they constructed a blood vessel map allowing for more a accurate and safer surgery.

India is no stranger to world record sized tumours. In 2016 a kidney tumour was successfully removed by Indian surgeons weighing a colossal 5.5kg. The tumour was acknowledged by the Guinness World Records. It was recorded as being around fifty times the size of a healthy kidney.

Doctors have said Pal is awake and recovering well, being able to walk and eat by himself. He was reported to have said he feels relieved of “a large burden on his head”.

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