Surgeons removed 30 inches of a man’s large intestine after diagnosing him with a rare condition involving a building-up of constipation throughout his life. The unnamed male patient, 22, is believed to have been born with the congenital condition known as Hirschsprung’s disease – also known as “HD”.
It means his stool cannot pass because of a lack of nerves in some muscles inside his colon. 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.
He had to rely on laxatives and other constipation medicine to force bowel movements to happen.
Doctor Yin Lu and his team of experts at the 10th People’s Hospital of Shanghai, in East China, met with the man and claimed they were stunned by the size of the man’s abdomen, noting that “it looked like it could explode at any time.”
They did not say why he chose to finally seek medical attention, but reports suggested it was because of intense discomfort.
The medic’s instinct told him that the patient was suffering from a form of megacolon and tests quickly confirmed that the young man had months’ – if not years’ – worth of faeces trapped in the degenerative 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 realize they have the condition until they reach adulthood.