- The patient was in the habit of chewing tobacco since many years
- Surgeons of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, removed the tumour and reconstructed the patient’s face and neck by taking skin and muscles from his chest and thigh
May 28, 2020, NEW DELHI – Cancer surgeons at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, have removed a massive tumour weighing 3 kg, the size of an adult human head, from the face of a 37-year-old man. The patient was a regular tobacco chewer for several years.
The life-saving surgery, that took a marathon 11 hours, involved removal of half of the patient’s jaw and cheek bone and reconstruction of his face and neck so that he would be able to eat and speak normally. The case once again highlighted the perils of chewing tobacco in the run up to the No-Tobacco Day that is observed on May 31 every year.
Vicky, a resident of North West Delhi, presented himself at the Max Hospital in March this year with an enormous tumour that covered the left side of his face. The cancerous tumour that was hanging from the left side of his face, was not only bleeding excessively but also had huge portions of dead and decaying cells. Due to the humongous size of the tumour, Vicky was having extreme difficulty in opening his mouth, eating food or even moving his head from side to side. He had also lost a lot of weight because of poor nutrition intake over the last few months.
Said Dr. Saurabh Gupta, Consultant, Surgical Oncology, at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, who led the surgery: “The patient noticed early signs of the disease in the beginning of this year. He was extremely lucky that the tumour, despite being huge, had not spread to other organs of the body. We decided to conduct a life-saving surgery as soon as possible considering the fast rate of growth of the tumour, which was also bleeding excessively. Any further delay may have led the cancer to metastasize to other body parts like bones, lungs, liver, etc. The safest option was to operate and remove the cancerous growth.”
Before the surgery, the patient had to undergo two quick cycles of chemotherapy within a span of three weeks to shrink the size of the tumour. The patient was operated upon on April 30 in an 11–hour-long surgery. The surgeons carefully excised the cancerous growth as a single piece that weighed 3 kgs and measured 18×12 cm with a depth of 8 cm – about the size of a normal human head.
Dr. Saurabh Gupta added: “We removed left half of the patient’s jaw, his cheek bone, the skin around the face and neck as well as the lymph nodes from both sides of his neck. The surgery was extremely challenging as the tumour had to be removed in a single piece and the face and neck had to be reconstructed so that the patient could eat and speak normally.”
Explained Dr. Vipin Bhathwal, Associate Director, Oncology Reconstructive Surgery, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Vaishali, Ghaziabad: “For reconstruction of the patient’s face and neck, we took skin and muscles from the left side of his chest and right thigh. Then we carefully crafted the
contours of the face so that they would smoothly blend with the facial skin and not restrict movement post the surgery. This was undoubtedly an extremely complicated case. However, we were determined to do our best to give the patient a new lease of life.”
Dr. Saurabh Gupta explained: “This case was particularly challenging from many aspects. We were running out of time as chemotherapy was hardly having any effect on the tumour, and there were high chances of it spreading to other organs. Socially, the timing of the surgery was challenging too, as it was right in the middle of the ongoing lockdown. Psychologically too, it was not a good time for a high-risk surgery due to fear of infection in the raging pandemic.”
The surgery was hugely successful, with an uneventful post-op recovery for the patient who was discharged from the hospital after 11 days. After another three months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Vicky will be able to eat and speak properly, resuming his normal routine like any other healthy individual.
About Max Healthcare:
Max Healthcare (MHC) is the country’s leading comprehensive provider of standardized, Seamless and International-class healthcare services. It is committed to the highest standard of medical and service excellence, patient care, scientific and medical education.
Max Healthcare has 13 facilities in Northern India, offering services in over 30 medical disciplines. Of this, 10 facilities are located in Delhi & NCR and the others in Mohali, Bathinda and Deharadun. The Max network includes state-of-the-art tertiary care hospitals in Saket, Patparganj, Vaishali, Shalimar Bagh, Mohali, Bathinda and Dehradun, secondary care hospitals at Gurgaon, Pitampura & Noida and an out-patient facility and speciality center at Panchsheel Park. The Super Speciality Hospitals in Mohali and Bathinda are under PPP arrangement with the Government of Punjab.