A team of surgeons had to remove an incredible 30 inches of a man’s large intestine after diagnosing him with a rare condition that caused his excrement to become stuck inside him.
The 22-year-old unnamed patient is believed to have been born with the condition known as Hirschsprung’s disease – or HD – characterised by a lack of nerves in some muscles inside his colon, meaning his stool can’t pass.
As a result, the man’s abdomen began to bulge at a very young age – to the point where people thought he appeared heavily pregnant – and he had to rely on laxatives to force bowel movements.
Doctor Yin Lu and his team of experts at the 10th People’s Hospital of Shanghai, in East China, said they were stunned by the size of the man’s abdomen, saying ‘it looked like it could explode at any time’.
The medic’s instinct told him the patient was suffering from a form of megacolon and tests quickly confirmed the young man had months’ – if not years’ – worth of faeces trapped in a section of his colon.
He was taken into what was eventually a three-hour surgery to have 76 centimetres (30 inches) of his large intestine removed.
It was stitched closed at either end to prevent his stool from falling out and was in the end measured at some 13 kilogrammes (28 lbs).
The patient is stable and is expected to make a full recovery.
HD is said to occur in roughly one out of every 5,000 birth and is usually diagnosed in children; however, some sufferers do not realise they have the condition until they reach adulthood.