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Doctors surgically remove 759 cysts from abdomen of 29-yr-old woman in Chennai

Doctors in Chennai have surgically removed 759 cysts from the abdomen of a 29-year old woman, who had been suffering from severe abdominal pain, swelling for over 3 months. The patient was suffering from a condition that is known as Peritoneal Hydatid Disease. 

Doctors say the disease which is largely endemic to parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is caused due to the tapeworm that spreads to humans via dogs and sheep, besides lack of personal hygiene and contaminated water. 

However, they said, the disease does not spread from one person to another.

The patient was admitted to the Saveetha Medical College and Hospital when she faced severe discomfort, to the extent of not being able to consume a normal diet and experienced breathing trouble, vomiting. 

On performing CT scans and Ultrasound scans, doctors found four large cysts that were occupying nearly 50% of the abdomen, with each individual cyst measuring around 10cm in diameter. By the means of a large operative scar in the abdomen, they also understood that the patient was operated upon for a cyst removal procedure at the age of seven. 

“The cysts were attached to the vital organs, system in the abdominal cavity, such as the large intestine, liver portal vein, bile duct, urinary bladder and kidney. Hence we had to plan to operate in a manner in which the adjoining organs are not affected or injured. This surgery has to be performed in manner that each cyst is individually removed,” Dr BS Sundaravadanan, Professor, General Surgery told WION. 

Doctors said that the 4 and a half hour surgery was an extremely complex one as the rupture of any of the cysts would have led to the immediate shock due to the toxins in the fluid spreading in the bloodstream (loss of pulse, blood pressure and cardiac arrest) and would eventually lead to loss of life. 

They also added that the patient was discharged eight days after the surgery and that she has been prescribed medications to prevent the disease from recurring. The fluid-filled cysts were estimated to weigh around 4kgs as the patient had lost as many kilos after the operation. 

Dr Saveetha Rajesh, Director, Saveetha Medical College and Hospital said, “Operating a total of 759 cysts is one of the rarest occurrences in medical history. Hydatid disease is endemic to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The liver is the most common site of Hydatid Cyst.” 

Speaking of the symptoms of the disease, doctors said that irrespective of the patient’s gender, the conditions do not reveal any symptoms until it grows to be very large. They grow up to 1-5 cm in a year, they said. 

As the details regarding the surgery that the patient had undergone during her childhood remain unclear, doctors suspect that some of the earlier ruptured cysts might have caused the cysts to recur over the years, as the patient wouldn’t have been advised appropriate preventive medication back then. 

Doctors also clarified that such conditions have seen a drastic decline over the years due to better personal hygiene, better medication and literacy. Doctors claim that there are barely a handful of patients that are diagnosed with this condition every year. 

However, they advised that proper hygiene of domestic pets (dogs) be maintained and that regular dew-worming be administered for the pets to ensure that they do not transfer the worm.