Pune: 24-year-old boy undergoes surgery for 55th time to remove tumour

Published: Jun 17, 2019, 16:42 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Since the age of 3, Bhavari had to undergo 55 surgeries after every four months to remove a rare tumour- recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) in the respiratory tract

Pune: 24-year-old boy undergoes surgery for 55th time to remove tumour
The patient Amol Bhavari with Dr Sanjay Helale

Amol Bhavari, 24-year-old, a resident of Pune underwent surgery for the 55th time in order to remove a noncancerous tumor in the respiratory tract. He was diagnosed with the rare disease when he was only 3 years old. Since then, he had to undergo surgeries almost every four months. Due to his condition, he couldn't talk properly or have chilled products such as ice-cream. Finally, at a city-based hospital, he was given a new lease of life when surgeons used an electrically powered handpiece that 'burns' tissues using low temperatures and helps stop re-growth of the tumour in future after his last surgery.

Since the age of 3, Bhavari had to undergo 55 surgeries after every four months to remove a rare tumour- recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) in the respiratory tract. On June 6, 2019, Bhavari underwent the surgery at Kohinoor hospital, followed by a laser therapy which burnt off the tissues to stop it from growing. This rare tumor can spread across the air passage from the nose and mouth into the lungs.

At age 3, he developed a small, wart-like growths (papillomas) in his respiratory tract. After undergoing several tests, it was revealed that he was suffering from a rare respiratory disorder. Although the tumors can grow anywhere in the respiratory tract, they most commonly grow in the larynx (voice box)—a condition called laryngeal papillomatosis. The papillomas may vary in size and grow very quickly. They often grow back after they have been removed.

Amol exhibited symptoms like hoarseness of voice, breathing, speaking difficult, and cough. A tracheostomy (is a small surgical opening that is made through the front of the neck into the windpipe, or trachea) was done on him to help him breathe freely. But, nothing helped him keep these papillomas at bay.

Bhavari, since his childhood, had been suffering because of this rare disease. He would struggle to talk or breathe properly. "Everyone in school and college around me, would often ask me if anything was wrong with me and why couldn't I speak properly? I had no answer to these questions. This condition bogged me down, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. I would cough constantly and hence could not even eat my favourite - ice cream. There was a financial crunch too but somehow we could manage to get my surgeries done."

Dr Sanjay Helale, ENT specialist and HOD at Kohinoor Hospital, said, “He represented symptoms of asthmatics and was misdiagnosed of asthma initially. RRP is rare, and 1 in 5,000 may suffer from it. Amol's diagnostic endoscopy was done at Kohinoor hospital, after which he was treated with coblation (a new method where the surgeon uses an electrically powered hand piece that 'burns' tissues using low temperatures) and laser therapy. The surgery was performed with the help of apnoea technique which is alternate intubation and extubation, and surgery in between. Also, a drug named cidofovir was injected which is an antiviral agent to reduce the recurrence of papillomas."

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