Surgeons in Mumbai have removed an astonishing 232 teeth-like growths from the mouth of an Indian teenager in what they believe may be a world-record operation, the hospital said Thursday.
Ashik Gavai, 17, sought medical help after suffering swelling on the right side of his lower jaw for 18 months, Agence France-Presse reported. After local doctors from his village were unable to identify the cause of the problem, the case was referred to the Mumbai's JJ Hospital, where doctors found he was suffering from a condition known as complex odontoma, head of dentistry Sunanda Dhivare-Palwankar told AFP.
Odontomas are haphazardly arranged tooth-like growths composed of enamel, dentin (the yellowish tissue that makes up the bulk of all teeth) and pulp tissue (part in the center of a tooth made up of living connective tissue), UK MailOnline reported. "Ashik's malaise was diagnosed as a complex composite odontoma where a single gum forms lots of teeth. It's a sort of benign tumor," Dhivare told BBC News.
"We operated on Monday and it took us almost seven hours. At first, we couldn't cut it out so we had to use the basic chisel and hammer to take it out," she said. "We thought it may be a simple surgery but once we opened, little pearl-like teeth started coming out, one-by-one. Initially, we were collecting them, they were really like small white pearls. But then we started to get tired. We counted 232 teeth," she added.
After removing those, they also found a larger "marble-like" structure which they struggled to shift and eventually had to "chisel out" and remove in fragments, she added.
The surgery, involving two surgeons and two assistants, was led by Dr. Vandana Thorawade who heads the hospital's ENT (ear, nose and throat) department.
Describing Ashik's case as "very rare", Dhivare said she had "not seen anything like this before in my 30-year career", but said she was "thrilled to get such an exciting case".
The youngster's father, Suresh Gavai, said that the family had been worried that Ashik's swelling was a cancerous growth. "I was worried that it may turn out to be cancer so I brought him to Mumbai," Gavai told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper.
Meanwhile, Dhivare said the literature they had come across on the condition showed a maximum of 37 teeth being removed in such a procedure. "But in Ashik's case, the tumor was found deep in the lower jaw and it had hundreds of teeth."
Fortunately the surgeons managed to maintain the teenager's jawbone structure, including 28 teeth. Once removed, odontomas do not recur.