In a bizarre incident, a team of doctors at Rajawadi hospital in Ghatkopar removed a giant hairball weighing 750 from the stomach of a woman who was addicted to pulling out and eating her own hair. The girl was admitted to the hospital as she was suffering from nausea and an extremely swollen abdomen.
For the past few days, she had lost all appetite and vomited anything that she consumed. When the doctors conducted a CT scan they found a mass in her stomach. The girl is said to be suffering from the rare Rapunzel Syndrome, of which only documented 88 cases have been recorded in medical literature the world over (till October 2016).
Dr Bharat Kamath, the assistant professor in the department of surgery at Rajawadi Hospital, who led the surgical team, said,
It had filled her stomach, due to which the patient was unable to eat. Moreover, a tail of hair trailed into her intestine, which is typical in a case of Rapunzel Syndrome.
The hairball was about 25 cm long and about 10-12 cm across. The compulsive habit of eating hair is called Trichophagia, which is in parallel associated with trichotillomania (hair pulling). Hair protein does not get digested, nor can the body pass it in the stool. The doctors said that the biggest challenge that they faced was to convince the girl to agree for the operation.
Dr Bharat agreed said, “Most surgeons might not have come across such a case. This is my second such case, and the mass of hair is much bigger this time.” Soon, the doctors will publish their findings in international journals.