A four-year-old boy suffering from an extremely rare case of premature puberty, said to occur in one in a million, has been cured of the condition through a complex brain surgery at public sector Jipmer hospital in Puducherry, claimed to be the first of its kind in the country.
The boy started showing changes in his physical appearance akin to a young adult and increase in size of his private parts when he was just two years old. He had a rough voice and exhibited very aggressive behaviour, making it difficult for them to control him.
Tests revealed he had excessive sex hormones in his blood and growth of hamartoma (abnormal tissue) in hypothalamus, that regulates all hormones, doctors said.
"This very rare case is of precocious puberty affecting one in a million. Such cases can be suspected when girls attain puberty before eight years of age and boys before nine," head of the department of neurosurgery Dr Roopesh Kumar said.
The three hour surgery in which the hamartoma was removed was done for the first time in the country in centrally sponsored Jipmer, Kumar said.
Kumar said the boy's parents first brought him to the hospital in 2011 when they found the changes.The boy was given injections every three months since 2011 to control excess hormones.
As the response was sub optimal it was decided to go for surgery. The family's poverty was also a factor as they could not afford cost of injections, which have to be continued for a decade, Dr Kumar said.
"We removed completely the hamartoma (abnormal tissue) in hypothalamus which regulates all hormones. Care was taken to preserve vital neurovascular structures surrounding the tissue. Hormone values have become normal after surgery for his age and there is no need for further injections," he said.
The boy is now in good health and has been discharged, Dr Kumar said.