Chennai docs remove 6.2 kg football-size liver tumour in eight-hour surgery


After surgery that lasted about eight hours, doctors here successfully removed a football-size tumour that weighed 6.2 kg from a 66-year-old man. Patient Chidambara Marathe from Bengaluru shared the fascinating story of his rebirth here on Thursday. He was in Chennai to celebrate his wife’s birthday on Thursday and describe his experience.

Marathe was first diagnosed with cirrhosis and hepatitis B infection about 10 years ago and had since been undergoing treatment. In 2013, he was also diagnosed with two small lesions (hepatocellular carcinoma) on his liver and was on chemotherapy. This is not unusual, said doctors, explaining how liver tumours commonly developed in patients with cirrhosis due to viral infection caused by hepatitis B or C.

However, this was different and the family did not know about it. In February, Marathe complained of abdominal pain. His family gave him tablets as usual but the pain did not subside, and the stomach was found a bit swollen. “Then a doctor in Bengaluru diagnosed a huge tumour in his liver,” said his son Kiran Marathe.

The son took him to over a dozen doctors, but all expressed helplessness, stating there were no doctors who could remove such a big tumour. They said that Marathe would live only for six months. There was a glimmer of hope when a doctor there decided to take a risk. Family members were understandably ecstatic, but that was too short lived. “The doctor came back from the operation theatre and said they opened his stomach but had to close it; there could not remove the tumour because of bleeding,” he added.

With this experience, when Mohammed Rela, chairman and director, Institute of Liver Disease and Transplantation at the Gleneagles Global Health City here, looked at the medical reports and said he could do it, they did not take it on face value. “When he said that, I thought the doctor is either overconfident or really good. But, I had confidence in his words and was desperate to save my father. I agreed for the surgery,” recalled Kiran.

But removing such a large tumour, that too in the liver was challenging. It was fed by blood supply from other parts of the blood vessels, which means there was a risk of profuse bleeding while trying to remove it, the doctor explained. When it was finally removed after an eight-hour long surgery, there was all round relief. “It was 25 cm in size, almost the size of a football,” said Rela.

“Liver transplant is not the only option for all liver diseases. Liver resection is also an option for long term survival, which was chosen for Marathe. Liver transplant is an expensive, complicated procedure, that requires the patient to be on immunosuppressive drugs,” he said. The surgery was performed on March 31 and Marathe was discharged 



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