A 26-year-old Bangladeshi man nicknamed “Tree Man” for extremely rare bark-like warts on his hands and feet will need about 15 more surgeries to remove the huge growths weighing at least 5 kilogrammes, a top surgeon said today.
Abul Bajandar, who has been suffering from rare genetic skin disease epidermodysplasia verruciformis also referred to as “Tree Man Disease”, was successfully operated second time yesterday at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
The surgery was conducted on the upper side of Abul’s right hand wrist and palm by a nine-member team of doctors.
“We need to move slowly and carefully. We think we need around 15 surgeries for Abul,” said Abul Kalam, head of burn and plastic surgery department at DMCH.
“Everything is going well till now. Abul Bajandar still feels good and does not face any other problem,” Kalam, who is also chief of the nine-member team assigned for Abul, was quoted as saying by ‘Dhaka Tribune’.
The first surgery on Abul’s five fingers of his right hand was successfully done on February 20. He was hospitalised last month to remove some of the growths that first began appearing 10 years ago and slowly covered his hands and feet before eventually forcing him to stop working as a rickshaw puller.
The Bangladeshi government will bear all the cost of Abul’s treatment who has has become a celebrity with people travelling from far and wide to see him and hundreds visiting him in hospital.
‘Tree Man Disease’ is caused by a defect in the immune system. It leads to abnormal susceptibility to human papilloma viruses (HPVs), which eventually results in the overgrowth of scaly macules and papules, especially on the feet and hands.
Abul is the fifth person in the world reported to be suffering from the disease which still has no cure.
The others are Ion Toader from Romania, Dede Kosawa and Zainal (Indonesia) and Ivan (the Netherlands).
The warts can be surgically removed but they also grow back, sometimes faster than before like in Dede, who has appeared in a Discovery channel documentary “Treeman: Search for the Cure.”