Photos of the 4 Pound Brain Tumor Removed From the Brain of a 31-Year-Old

A brain tumor is a particularly tricky thing to deal with. No matter the size of the tumor, there is still an inherent risk of causing more damage to the brain itself. That being said, they do get more interesting and challenging the larger they grow.

In the case of 31-year-old Santlal Pal, he had the most difficult and largest brain tumor to ever be removed.

The tumor had been growing for 3 years

A doctor points at x-rays and images of skulls and tumors.

Eventually, Pal found a hospital who agreed to remove it. | Indranil Mukherjee/Getty Images

Sentlal Pal had been living with the tumor for more than three years by the time the surgery to place in February 2018. His wife, Manju, told the BBC that Pal had been to three separate hospitals to get the tumor removed. But all three wouldn’t perform the surgery because it was too risky.

Next: Here’s what made the tumor so challenging.

The location of the brain tumor was really precarious

A doctor pints at X-rays of the tumor.

Pal had lived with the tumor for three years. | Indranil Mukherjee/Getty Images

The tumor had been growing on the back of Pal’s skull. The majority of it was located between the skull and the scalp. That is what formed the bulbous mass you see in the images above. About 10% of the tumor was located inside the skull. That portion caused a lot of issues for Pal.

Next: Take a look at how the tumor affected Pal’s everyday life.

The pressure from the mass stole his vision

Pal's wife feeds him a piece of apple as he sits on a bed.

Pal had lost his vision due to the tumor. | Indranil Mukherjee/Getty Images

The whole tumor weighed close to four pounds. The mass that was protruding from the skull didn’t cause as many problems as the mass that was inside the skull. The pressure from the 10% inside the skull had been pushing against the area of the brain where vision is processed. This ended up causing damage in that area and rendering Pal blind.

Next: Meet the doctor who had the confidence to pull this surgery off.

Dr. Trimurti Nadkarni performed the 7-hour surgery

The doctor sits in front of a black desktop computer.

This doctor took on the challenging operation. | Dr. Trimurti Nadkarni

The specialist that signed up for this nearly impossible procedure was neurosurgeon Dr. Trimurti Nadkarni. Dr. Nadkarni is no stranger to these challenges. He had also removed a three-pound tumor from another patient in 2002. “We have checked all the available medical texts,” Nadkarni said to The Hindu, “We have not found any tumor as big as this.”

Next: Take a look at this thing after it was removed. 

The tumor weighed in at 1.8 kilograms

The large tumor placed on a scale.

To find a tumor this big is very rare. | BYL Nair Hospital

The doctors involved in the surgery had to open the scalp where the tumor was located. From there they were able to remove the mass located on the exterior of the skull. For the portion inside, the doctors had to make a hole on his skull to get it out. During the procedure, Pal needed 11 units of blood according to the BBC.

Next: Pal’s recovery after the surgery will be a long one.

Pal has a long road ahead of him

Pal rests on a hospital bed.

Recover won’t be easy for Santlal Pal. | Indranil Mukherjee/Getty Images

After Pal’s surgery, he was taken to the ICU as a precaution. The surgery was very complicated and it needed that kind of post-op attention. “His recovery greatly depends on the nature of the tumor,” said Dr. Nadkarni. It could grow back, it could be cancerous, and it could require some radiation and chemotherapy. For now, he’s out of any immediate danger. The doctors are also hopeful that he will regain his vision.

Next: Take a look at the largest tumors ever recorded.

The largest tumor ever recorded on a man, started out as nothing

Pal lies on his side as he recovers.

Pal’s tumor set a new record for brain tumors, but there have been some cases of larger body tumors. | Indranil Mukherjee/Getty Images

The tumor removed from Pal’s skull was the largest brain tumor ever removed. However, when we talk about the largest overall tumor for a man, that honor might go to Yang Jianbin of China. When he was born, he had a small black spot on his back. When he reached the age of nine, it had grown into the size of a softball. He promptly had it removed, but it came back.

Next: He waited another 27 years to get the new one removed.

Eventually the tumor weighed 238 pounds

Nurse holding an X ray film.

Tumors can grow to be very heavy and large. | Thomasandreas/Getty Images

When you wait that long to get a tumor removed, it will continue to grow. When the doctors successfully removed the new tumor, it weighed in at a whopping 238 pounds! It took nine doctors and 16 hours of surgery to remove the mass. Yang recovered well and it was found that the tumor was benign.

Next: The largest tumor ever recorded actually belongs to an American woman.

The Guinness World Record goes to … someone

A group of doctors during an operation.

These cases are rare, but they do happen. | Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images

We actually don’t know the name of the woman who had the world’s largest tumor. All we know is that the surgery was performed by Katherine O’Hanlan of Stanford University Medical Center in 1991. The tumor was the result of an ovarian mass that grew to a diameter of three feet. After the surgery, the patient weighed 210 pounds and the tumor weighed 303 pounds; both left on separate stretchers.

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