Life

By Taniya Dutta


Doctors in India have performed a life-saving surgery to remove a whopping 10 pound tumour – world’s biggest-from a teen’s jaw.

The tumour measuring 20x20x20 cm started growing on Amar Samad, a 19-year-old’s upper jaw ten years ago.

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It grew so big that it started protruding out to the left, engulfing his eye and giving a grotesque appearance.

Because of the abnormality, Amar could not speak and swallow food properly, further weakening is health.

For a decade, the teenager was a butt of ridicule for the ‘football’ size tumour and was forced to live a reclusive life in his village Konaro in Jharkhand in eastern India.

However, a team of 12 surgeons at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi removed the external deformity in a 14-hour-long, free of cost surgery.

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The dense collection of bone and fibrous tissue was diagnosed as “ossifying fibroma” on initial biopsy examination.

The surgeons also reconstructed his upper jaw using his leg bone.

Dr. Subramania Iyer, Head, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, at the hospital said: “Amar’s medical condition belonged to a very rare disease group called Hyper-parathyroidism Jaw Tumor Syndrome.

“It arises due to a genetic abnormality and causes small-size tumors on the jaw.

“His case is unique as a tumor of this size associated with this disease has not yet been reported in medical literature.

“In fact, this is the largest ever reported upper jaw tumor of its kind.

“The humongous growth was leading towards grave complications.

“If the condition had persisted, Amar would have found it impossible to eat, and breathing would have become a struggle. The calcium levels in his body had risen very high due to the disease.”

The removal of the tumor as well as reconstruction of the upper jaw was a great challenge for the doctors because of the huge size and involvement of the entire jaw and left eye.

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The doctors first used 3D printing technology to construct an accurate model of Amar’s face and tumour and conducted a mock surgery for practice.

Dr Iyer said: “The tumour’s removal was complicated. The amount of blood loss was a cause of worry, but this was controlled by temporarily blocking blood vessels to the upper part of the face.

“Reconstruction had to be meticulously planned.

“We used 3D printing to construct an accurate model of Amar’s face and tumor, and conducted mock surgery for practice. Micro-surgical transfer of his leg bone was carried out to construct a new upper jaw.

“We had initially planned to remove his left eye, but managed to save it through meticulous surgery. His nose was reconstructed with bone, with plastic tubes acting as airways.”

The patient also underwent surgical removal of the parathyroid adenoma. After the surgical procedures, Amar’s parathyroid hormone and calcium levels have returned to normal.

He now needs implants placed in his reconstructed upper jaw to act as teeth. The position of his left eye has to be readjusted to make it more acceptable cosmetically, though it has limited vision left.

Both the eye and dental procedures will be conducted after six months.

Amar has two younger brothers in the family. His father passed away due to malaria in his childhood, and his mother left soon thereafter, leaving the children to be raised by their uncle.

He used to work in the fields, but since his medical condition developed, he rarely ventured out of home.

After the successful surgery, Amar is hopeful of living a normal life again.

An overjoyed Amar said: “Because of this huge deformity on my face, I could never mingle with other children of my age, as they used to be repulsed by my appearance.

“It is a huge relief to get the tumor off my face – it is almost like a second birth. I am now eager to go back home, make friends again and work in the fields. I thank the doctors of Amrita Hospital from the bottom of my heart for enabling me to lead a normal life.”

Amar’s case came to the notice of Dr. Sreehari Jingla from Jharkhand. Moved by his plight, and with the help of a visiting US doctor who knew about the head-and-neck reconstructive service available at the Amrita Hospital, he facilitated Amar’s treatment after being turned away from many reputed hospitals as the doctors were not confident they could handle the case.

Amrita Hospital, founded in 1998, has provided completely free care to more than 41 lakh patients since 1998. It has provided more than Rs. 536.33 crores in charitable care so far.