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Surgery for 7ft woman at AIIMS

- Docs say Siddika’s operation ‘challenging’ and keep her under observation

New Delhi, Jan. 16: Surgeons at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here today removed a pituitary tumour from 25-year old Siddika Pervin from South Dinajpur who was suffering from gigantism, a condition that caused her to grow over seven feet tall.

The woman from Buniadpur, 60km from Balurghat, was operated on by a team of surgeons at the neurosciences centre at AIIMS, her uncle and father said this evening. Siddika had been admitted to the hospital on November 13 last year.

Sources at AIIMS told The Telegraph that the surgery had been “challenging” and Siddika was under observation in an intensive care unit. They declined to provide more details, saying they would prefer to wait for at least 24 hours.

“We are now waiting for her recovery,” said Mukhtarul Islam, Siddika’s uncle, who also said she is more than seven feet eight inches tall and weighs about 160kg.

Pituitary tumours can cause abnormal secretion of the growth hormone and, in rare cases, cause people to gain height and weight far beyond average levels. Siddika began to grow unusually fast when she was about 10 years old, Islam said.

“She also started consuming a lot more food than people usually eat,” he said. “She now typically needs about 2kg rice a day.”

Her gigantism had became a problem for her and the family. “Local youths started taunting her. She, too, found it difficult to continue studies after some time. So, we stopped sending her to school,” the woman’s mother had said.

Siddika’s father Affasuddin Ahmed is a farm labourer.

The South Dinajpur district Congress president, Nilanjan Roy, and a member of the All India Congress Committee, Om Prakash Mishra, helped the family by making arrangements for their visit to Delhi and the treatment at AIIMS.

The unusual height and weight in gigantism might at times make patients susceptible to other health problems. During her two-month stay at AIIMS, Siddika received medications as part of “pre-operative medical management”, Roy said.

The primary goal of a surgery to remove a pituitary tumour is to normalise the growth hormone levels. Medical literature suggests that if surgery does not normalise the growth hormone levels, pituitary radiation and medical therapy are other options.

An American named Robert Wadlow with gigantism who died in 1940 is the tallest man ever recorded with a height of eight feet and 11 inches, according to a paper on gigantism by a team of American doctors published on the website: emedicine.medscape.com.