Doctors remove three kg tumour from man's face after 11-hour surgery

Doctors remove three kg tumour from man's face after 11-hour surgery

Three kilograms of a massive tumour, equal to the size of an adult human head, was successfully removed from the face of a 37-year old man at New Delhi based Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh.

The marathon life-saving surgery that took 11 hours involved the removal of the patient's jaw and cheekbone and reconstruction of his face and neck was done to sustain the functional and aesthetic outcomes.

In order to shrink the size of the tumour, the patient had to be given two quick cycles of chemotherapy within a span of three weeks before the surgery. Since the chemotherapy was hardly having any effect on the tumour, the chances of its spread to other organs were high. The timing of the surgery was challenging too, as it was right in the middle of the ongoing pandemic. The patient was operated on and the surgeons carefully excised the cancerous growth as a single piece that weighed three kgs and measured 18x12 cm with a depth of 8 cm.

The 37-year old Mahender (name changed), who was a regular tobacco chewer for several years, presented himself at the Max Hospital with an enormous tumour that covered the left side of his face. The cancerous tumour that was hanging from the left side of his face, was not only bleeding excessively but also had huge portions of dead and decaying cells. Due to the humongous size of the tumour, Mahender was having extreme difficulty in opening his mouth, eating food, or even moving his head from side to side. He had also lost a lot of weight because of poor nutrition intake over the last few months.

"The patient noticed early signs of the disease at the beginning of this year. He was extremely lucky that the tumour, despite being huge, had not spread to other organs of the body. We decided to conduct a life-saving surgery as soon as possible considering the fast rate of growth of the tumour, which was also bleeding excessively. Any further delay may have led cancer to metastasize to other body parts like bones, lungs, liver, etc. The safest option was to operate and remove the cancerous growth." Said Dr Saurabh Gupta, Consultant, Surgical Oncology, at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, who led the surgery.

The surgery was hugely successful, with uneventful post-op recovery for the patient who was discharged from the hospital after 11 days. The patient as on date has completed his three months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He is able to eat and speak properly and has resumed his daily activities.

According to the recent data provided by Globacan India 2018, Haryana has the third-highest incidences of cancer in India followed by Kerala and Mizoram accounting for approximately 9 lakh cases in 2018. And of the total cases of cancer from the state, 30 per cent of them are attributed to oral cancer. With a mortality rate of 9.3 per cent, oral cancer in Haryana is the second deadliest cancer in India.

Since the tumour had to be removed in a single piece and allow reconstruction of the face and neck to restore his speech and normal eating, the case was extremely challenging.

"For a reconstruction of the patient's face and neck, we took skin and muscles from the left side of his chest and right thigh. Then we carefully crafted the contours of the face so that they would smoothly blend with the facial skin and not restrict movement post the surgery. This was undoubtedly an extremely complicated case. However, we were determined to do our best to give the patient a new lease of life." Explained Dr Vipin Bhathwal, Associate Director, Oncology Reconstructive Surgery, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Vaishali, Ghaziabad.

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