WARNING: The video of the surgery below is graphic.
In an unsettling discovery, doctors in India recently found a massive tapeworm cyst that had grown to cover more than half a young girl’s brain. The grisly find ends with a positive outcome, but for years the 12-year-old girl suffered from weakness, headaches, and seizures.
It was only when she went in for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan at Sterling Hospital in central India that her family uncovered the true cause of her symptoms – a 0.45-kilogram (1-pound) cyst the size of a grapefruit.
"It was very dangerous and there were chances the cyst could have ruptured and killed her at any time,” said Dr Chirag Solanki, a neuro and spine surgeon who performed the girl's surgery to remove the cyst, to MailOnline. “It’s a bubble so it could burst at any moment."
The most recognizable form of the parasitic tapeworm is their slender, serpentine bodies, but before they reach adulthood they are first larvae. Even at this stage, they are dangerous; if ingested, the larvae can invade tissues such as the muscle and brain, forming a cyst where they’ve rooted themselves.
The official diagnosis for the girl’s debilitating condition is neurocysticercosis. Dr Solanki, who performed a 2.5-hour-long operation to remove the cyst, believes it had grown for eight to 10 years to reach its enormous size.
"My daughter is now back to normal and is doing very well," said Kishor Parbat Jogi, the girl’s father. All in all, it was an arduous few years, a grisly discovery, but thankfully a happy ending for the young girl.