Tumour ‘larger than a coconut’ removed from 72-year-old farmer’s thyroid gland

Representational purposes only. An ambulance arrives as people stand at the entrance of the emergency department of a government-run hospital in New Delhi (Reuters)
Representational purposes only. An ambulance arrives as people stand at the entrance of the emergency department of a government-run hospital in New Delhi (Reuters)

Doctors removed a “coconut-sized” tumour from the neck of a 72-year-old man from Bihar, according to reports.

The unidentified farmer from Begusarai district in the northern Indian state of Bihar was facing difficulties in breathing and swallowing food for the last six months, a statement from the hospital in Delhi where the surgery was conducted, said.

When his situation worsened, he was brought from Bihar to the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s Department of ENT and Head, Neck Onco Surgery last month, local news media reported

Dr Sangeet Agarwal, consultant, Head and Neck Onco Surgery at the hospital said: “During the last so many years of practice, I have operated more than 250 such cases of huge thyroid tumours but this was a unique case in terms of weight and size, wherein the normal butterfly-shaped thyroid gland, which normally weighs 10-15 gm and is of 3-4 cm size, became larger than a coconut with a size of 18-20 cm.”

Doctors at the hospital, who conducted the surgery on the farmer, said that the biggest challenge was to save the voice of the patient while removing the tumour.

Dr Agarwal said that the “bilateral vocal cord nerves were saved successfully.”

“The trachea (windpipe) was compressed due to which a special technique for anaesthesia had to be applied,” he added.

“In such types of huge tumours, preservation of calcium and maintaining parathyroid glands is also a big challenge. We were able to successfully preserve all four parathyroid glands,” he said in the statement.

The thyroid gland lies in front of the throat, which is also called Adam‘s apple.

The surgery took three hours, reports said.

Previously, in 2019, the same hospital in Delhi removed a kidney that weighed 7.4 kilograms (16.3 pounds) – the equivalent size of two newborn babies – from a patient.