Israeli Doctors Save Child Who Developed Life-Threatening Brain Tumor with Hair and Teeth

The Shaare Zedek Medical Center doctor who removed the tumor from the boy's brain said that finding such a tumor happens approximately once a decade.

Doctors at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, in Jerusalem, saved a boy's life after they removed a tumor from his brain. But the most shocking part of it is that the doctors found the tumor with hair and teeth.

According to the doctors, who operated on the tumor, this was a rare finding of a teratoma. It is a type of germ cell tumor that may contain several types of body tissue such as hair, teeth and even ears. Teratomas can be malignant or benign.

The director of Shaare Zedek's Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery of the Helmsley Neurological Institute, Dr. Gustavo Rajz said that finding such a tumor happens almost once in a decade.

The mass was made up of fetal remnants including hair, tissue and even teeth.

The Rare Case

The parents of the boy, a local Jerusalem couple, noticed almost a month ago that their son's head had taken an awkward shape. They realized that the boy needed medical help. Later, Dr. Lena Cherkhov, a pediatric neuro-radiologist in the Wilf Children's Hospital, conducted a number of brain scans. The reports then revealed that a life-threatening mass in the child's brain.

The boy was then sent to the Glaubach Pediatric Emergency Department. After the CT scans, Doctors noticed that the growth of the tumor was putting significant pressure on the child's brain and the brainstem, making it a life-threatening condition. However, the good thing was that the tumor was benign.

Tumor removed from boy's head

Without wasting time, Dr. Rajz along with other senior surgeons operated on the tumor. After hours of an intense and complex operation, they successfully removed the tumor using new technologies. During the surgery, they noticed that the mass was made up of fetal remnants including hair, tissue and even teeth. After the operation, doctors kept the child under observation for a few days and then released him from the hospital.

Dr. Rajz said: "This is an extremely rare type of mass that we see maybe once a decade. We responded very quickly because we saw the pressure on the brain stem and a build-up of fluids that could certainly have been life-threatening."

This article was first published on January 25, 2021