KERALA

GH doctors remove pituitary tumour endoscopically

All smiles:ENT surgeon K.G. Saju and neurosurgeon Dalvin Thomas with the patient A.K. Shajahan (centre) at a press meet in the city on Tuesday.

All smiles:ENT surgeon K.G. Saju and neurosurgeon Dalvin Thomas with the patient A.K. Shajahan (centre) at a press meet in the city on Tuesday.  

First such surgery in a hospital under State Health Services

The Eranakulam District General Hospital had pulled off a rare feat as a young man with a 4-cm tumour in the pituitary gland was treated completely without incurring much cost.

A month after surgery, 28-year-old A.K. Shajahan from Aluva is all smiles to see that he has got his vision back and that his recurring headache has gone.

The growth of the tumour was compressing the optic nerve making him blind. Even though he did not realise it he did not have peripheral vision. And, he had been popping in pain killers for his frequent splitting headaches.

Neurosurgeon Dalvin Thomas and ENT surgeon K.G. Saju had led an eight-member team in a four-hour surgery on August 15 to reach the tumour endoscopically through the nose, drilling through the skull bone from inside. This is the first time such surgery had happened in a hospital under the State Health Services, said Dr. Saju.

The surgery required the joint effort of two departments of neurosurgery and ENT along with anaesthesia team led by Dr. Shirley James.

Endoscopic surgery is the standard method adopted anywhere in the world to remove such deep-seated tumours in the brain, said Dr. Thomas. However, such surgeries are rare because of the rare occurrence of pituitary tumours, which may be one in a lakh of population. In the State about 30-40 such surgeries could be happening in both the public and the private sectors in a year.

But for his follow-up check-ups and a few surgery related medicines, Shajahan can go back to his work as a welder. One of the main worries was an immediate hormonal imbalance as pituitary gland controls the endocrine system, said Dr. Thomas. However, Shajahan’s hormonal profile was normal. Patients also show sodium imbalance, but his electrolyte balances were normal too.

All his surgical cost, except for the cost of a tissue glue, at Rs. 9,000 was covered under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. In a private hospital, the surgery could cost over Rs. 3 lakh.

It was a double shocker for Shajahan’s family as they first came to know about the tumour and secondly when they all had to move to a relief camp because of the floods. Shajahan, who was mobile at the end of the day of his surgery and could have gone home in four days, had to continue his stay in the hospital because of the floods.

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