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Doctors Remove Massive Hairball From Girl's Stomach

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Doctors Remove Massive Hairball From Girl's Stomach

A schoolgirl had a clump of hair weighing over half a kilo (1lb 2oz) removed from her stomach.

Doctors say the 16-year-old Russian girl had been chewing on her own hair for more a decade, due to a condition called Rapunzel syndrome, and, as a result, the massive ball had collected in her stomach.

A shocking photo shows the size of the mass of hair removed from inside the teen, following emergency surgery in Tomsk, Siberia.

The massive hairball had gathered over a decade. Credit: East2West
The massive hairball had gathered over a decade. Credit: East2West
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Medics operating on the teen found that her stomach was 80 per cent filled with hair, which was posing a major threat to her health.

The human stomach isn't able to digest hair, doctors said, so when large amounts are swallowed, like in this case, it accumulates and can turn into a giant clump.

Doctor-in-chief Andrey Karavaev said her gastrointestinal tract was in danger of being completely blocked, so it required urgent surgery at the Emergency Medicine Clinic Number Two, in Tomsk.

The unnamed teen is now said to be recovering well and 'feels much better' after the hair ball was removed. Well, yeah, I imagine she would.

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Local media reports claim it is only the second known case of Rapunzel syndrome in the region in the past 25 years.

Doctors have said the girl may now need psychiatric care to help her overcome the condition, which is also known as trichophagia and can be associated with trichotillomania, a hair-pulling disorder.

Doctors performed urgent surgery on the girl. Credit: East2West
Doctors performed urgent surgery on the girl. Credit: East2West
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In this instance, the teenager had complained about losing her hair before she was taken into hospital.

The uncommon syndrome is named after the character in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

It was only the second ever case of Rapunzel syndrome in the region in the last 25 years. Credit: East2West
It was only the second ever case of Rapunzel syndrome in the region in the last 25 years. Credit: East2West

According to the British Medical Journal, there are only around 90 reported cases of Rapunzel syndrome. The presence of the hairball can cause a multitude of problems, including dehydration, malnutrition, vomiting, abdominal pain and bowel obstruction.

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BMJ reports the case of a six-year-old girl who was found to have a hairball weighing 2100g and measuring approximately 11cm by 16cm with 110cm 'tail'. The girl's parents said their daughter did have a habit of putting her hair in her mouth, which she had most likely been swallowing over the years.

Featured Image Credit: East2West

Topics: World News, Health

Claire Reid
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