Surgeons remove what is believed to be the world's largest tumour
In recent history, medicine has progressed in leaps and bounds. In fact, in little over a hundred years, we've gone from being a species that performed haphazard operations without anaesthetic to an advanced race that has essentially eradicated many of the world's most deadly diseases.
However, every now and then, even the most capable of doctors are baffled by a medical condition - either because it's extremely rare, difficult to treat, or simply unheard of.
Just recently, a shopkeeper from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh made the news after it emerged that he had what is believed to be the biggest tumour in the world. Growths of any kind often prove to be difficult to treat - even with the fantastic medical capabilities we have today - yet this one was particularly troubling, as it was located on the man's brain.
But, against all odds, doctors were able to successfully remove it.
Santlal Pal, who is 31 years old, had been suffering for more than three years as a tumour - which weighed 1.9kg (4.1lbs) - grew out of the back of his scalp, making it appear as if he had a second head. Not only did the weight of it cause him a great amount of discomfort, but the condition actually caused him to go blind, too.
He and his wife had previously been to several hospitals in an attempt to have the mass removed, but had been told the procedure was impossible.
However, after Pal was beginning to get desperate in his search for help, he was offered a lifeline by the BYL Nair Charitable Hospital in Mumbai. A team of experts agreed to operate on the tumour, despite being staggered by its size.
Initial scans revealed that the mass had invaded into Pal's brain on both sides of the midline through his skull, and had been fed by a blood supply from that point.
The surgery took over seven hours, during which time Pal needed a transfusion of 11 units of blood. Things weren't looking great for a while, either, as the shopkeeper had to spend three days on life support following the removal of the tumour.
But, despite having undergone such an extreme procedure, he pulled through.
Dr Trimurti Nadkarni, who led the surgery, explained that such large tumours are a complicated challenge for even the most adept of medical professionals. However, his team managed to complete the operation, and Pal is apparently making a good recovery.
"There was a heavy blood loss and this required great team skill in perioperative monitoring for a successful result," said Dr. Nadkarni. "The patient has made good recovery and is now ambulatory and on full diet. He feels relieved of 'a large burden on his head'."
The team made note of the size and weight of the growth, saying that it far outweighed the previous biggest brain tumour, which had a mass of 1.4kg (3.1lbs).
Thanks to the efforts of the team, Pal is now able to lead a normal life again. Though he has been permanently blinded by the tumour, he is no longer at risk of succumbing to his condition.