DOCTORS have removed a huge hairball from the stomach of a 16-year-old girl suffering from “Rapunzel Syndrome”.
The unnamed teenager, from Russia, had been chewing her own hair for the past 10 years and over time it had collected in her stomach.
3 This huge clump of hair was removed from a 16-year-old girl’s stomach after chewing on her locks for 10 yearsCredit: East2west News
A picture shows the giant clump, which weighed 1lb 2oz, after it was removed during emergency surgery in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
Dr Andrey Karavaev said 80 per cent of the girl’s stomach was filled with the giant hair ball and her gastrointestinal tract was in danger of being totally blocked.
Previous cases of so-called Rapunzel Syndrome have led to death, so the surgery was “urgent”, he said.
The rare syndrome is named after the long-haired girl Rapunzel in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
Also known as Trichophagia, it can be associated with the hair-pulling disorder Trichotillomania.
In this case the girl had complained about “losing her hair”.
What is Rapunzel syndrome?Rapunzel syndrome, or trichophagia, is the rare medical condition where hairs a person has eaten become trapped in the stomach and form a hair ball.
These hair balls can cause nausea, bloating, abdominal pain and vomiting.
Other symptoms include reduced appetite, weight loss and constipation or diarrhoea.
In some cases the bowel can be punctured which can lead to sepsis – which, without quick treatment, can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
The authors of a BMJ Case Reports review found nearly 70 per cent of patients with Rapunzel syndrome were females aged younger than 20.
Many have learning disabilities or emotional troubles.
The operation was carried out at Emergency Medicine Clinic Number Two in Tomsk, according to reports.
The teenager is recovering after surgery and “feels much better”.
It was only the second reported Rapunzel syndrome case in 25 years in the region.
Doctors said the girl – who was not named – may now require psychiatric care.
The human stomach is unable to digest hair, so it accumulates later turning into a clump, said medics.
In 2017, a British girl died after a hairball in her stomach became infected.
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Jasmine Beever, from Skegness, collapsed in college after coming out in “blotches” and was rushed to hospital where doctors fought to keep her alive.
She was successfully resuscitated for 15 minutes, but then passed away later than evening.
A post mortem examination revealed that the hairball had caused peritonitis, an inflammation of tissue in the abdomen.
3 Doctors in Russia work to remove the clump of hair from the girl’s stomach after it posed a threat to her healthCredit: East2west News
3 The emergency operation was carried out at a clinic, pictured, in Tomsk, RussiaCredit: East2west News
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