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Doctors remove 3 kg tumour from man’s jaw in 11-hour-long marathon surgery

Doctors remove 3 kg tumour from man’s jaw in 11-hour-long marathon surgery

Sagaya Fernando

Mumbai: 24 September 2020


In a jaw dropping 11-hour-long marathon surgery doctors in India removed a 3 kg tumour from the jaw of a 37-year-old man (name withheld to protect identity). 


The life-saving surgery took 11 hours, and involved the removal of the patient’s jaw and cheek bone, and reconstruction of his face and neck using tissues from his thigh and chest.


“The patient came to us in early March with a bloated face and a massive tumour hanging out from the left side of his jaw. He was unable to even flex his neck and could not look down. He also found it difficult to wear his clothes. There was blood and fluid oozing out of the growth, which had huge portions of dead and decaying cells. He had a history of tobacco chewing, which is the most probable cause that led to the malignant growth on his jaw,” said Dr Saurabh Gupta, Consultant, Surgical Oncology, at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi. 


He added, “The treatment for all adenoid cancer is preferably surgery if possible. If it is not possible then only, we refer to radiation or chemotherapy. So, considering the size of this tumour, we gave him two cycles of chemotherapy in a span of three-week gaps in the hope of reducing the size of the tumour which would have made the surgery easier. But, only a small part of the tumour around the lower bottom of the neck fell off, and the size of the tumour remained the same.”


“The good thing about this patient was that usually such large tumours present spread to all over the body which we call metastasized, but fortunately for the patient it had not spread to other parts of his body. And, we did a positron emission tomography (PET) scan to confirm that. The PET scan showed that the tumour was only localised, and had not spread to liver, bone or other parts of the body. Then we decided to operate on him,” said Dr Gupta.


The operation was conducted on April 30, and took a marathon 11 hours.


The cancerous growth that was removed weighed 3 kgs and measured 18 x 12 cm with a depth of 8 cm.


“The entire left half of the jaw was removed along with the left upper teeth. The skin from his thigh was then grafted to make the outer aspect of his neck, and the inner cheek was spawned by skin of the chest. So, thigh and chest skin were used to reconstruct his face. The patient can now eat everything as the other side teeth are intact,” said Dr Gupta.


“The patient completed three cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy after the surgery, which culminated on July 15. Post two and half months of radiation, he is now looking much better as he is able to eat and speak properly and has resumed his daily activities,” said Dr Gupta. 


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