Bangladesh's 'Tree Man' undergoes successful surgery

Bajandar was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition dubbed \"tree-man disease\" that causes the skin growths.

Dhaka: A Bangladeshi father dubbed "Tree Man" for massive bark-like warts on his hands and feet on Saturday underwent a successful operation to remove some of the growths, a hospital said.

A nine-doctor team took three and a half hours to remove the giant warts from Abul Bajandar's right hand at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, facility director Samanta Lal Sen told AFP.

The 26-year-old was admitted last month for an operation to remove the growths weighing at least five kilogrammes (11 pounds) that first began appearing 10 years ago.

"It was a successful operation. We removed warts from all five fingers of his right hand. He's now happy and was laughing," Sen said. "We'll now review his condition for the next three weeks before deciding whether to conduct more operations. It's a big challenge."

Bajandar, from the southern district of Khulna, was diagnosed with epidermodysplasia verruciformis, an extremely rare genetic condition dubbed "tree-man disease" that causes the skin growths.

He became a celebrity with people travelling to Khulna over the years to see the "Tree Man" and hundreds visiting him in hospital. He was given the all-clear for surgery after tests confirmed the warts were not cancerous.

The Bangladesh government agreed to bear the costs of his treatment and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was given an update on his condition, Sen said. Bajandar's wife Halima Khatun saw her husband after the operation and said he looked "relaxed and happy".

Hospital director Sen said there were only three known cases of epidermodysplasia verruciformis in the world and Bajandar's was the only one in Bangladesh.

Bajandar told AFP last month that he initially thought that the warts were harmless but slowly as the growths covered his hands and feet, he was forced to quit working as a bicycle rickshaw puller.

An Indonesian villager with massive warts all over his body underwent a string of operations in 2008 to remove them.

( Source : AFP )
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