CHENNAI: When Dhanalakshmi (72) of Tiruvallur approached doctors at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital with a thyroid tumour weighing almost two kg, doctors were surprised at how long she had waited to seek medical advice.
She told doctors she first faced problems 20 years ago when she was an agricultural worker. For two decades, the tumour slowly grew, but she did not seek any medical advice. She thought of approaching doctors when two months ago the skin on her neck started to get infected and the pain became very severe. Dhanalakshmi’s tumour was so large that it hung up to her chest. She could not bend her neck or head and had to lie down most of the time because she couldn’t move freely. “When we examined it through x-ray and other tests, we also found that the tumour was putting excess pressure on the windpipe and her vocal cords, especially her left one was being pressed against as well,” said P Ragumani, Director of general surgery. In spite of diagnosing it as thyroid cancer, the doctors decided it could be removed through general surgery, The six- hour long surgery was especially difficult, said the doctor, “We were ready for a tracheostomy in case there were any complications, but we managed to do the surgery with no problems,” he explained. The doctors said the tumour was one of the largest known ones in the world, weighing more than 1.5 kg with a size of 17 cm X 10 cm. Doctors said that only 137 cases of thyroid swelling more than 10 cm size had been documented in medical literature till now.
At the hospital for a follow up of her surgery, Dhanalakshmi kept thanking the doctors repeatedly. In a hoarse voice she said, “It was so huge. I’ll be eternally grateful to these doctors.”
Another rare surgery was on Mari (35), who got admitted for abdominal pain. “We diagnosed her with multiple stones in the gall bladder. Her bile tube was 40 mm. Usually, it’s 4 mm,” Ragumani said.