I’m sorry for posting this. I’m sorry you’re about to read it. But, really, who am I to resist a story like this? It’s too insane. Too disturbing. I had no choice. You have to believe me.
Via VICE: Doctors in China recently removed nearly 30 inches of a swollen large intestine from a severely constipated gentleman. It apparently weighed 28.6 pounds, and was filled with feces which had been collecting there since birth. SINCE BIRTH. He was 22 years old.
Inverse reports that the anonymous man was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease, a congenital condition caused by missing nerve cells in the bowel, which results in, ahem, movement issues. In a healthy digestive tract, food and waste move through the intestines by peristalsis, or involuntary muscle contractions. But in someone with Hirschsprung’s disease, peristalsis stops in affected parts of the large intestine, aka the colon. The waste ends up just sitting there, causing the organ to swell and, if left long enough, it can turn into an aptly named “megacolon.” If the colon were to perforate, or tear, the release of bacteria could lead to life-threatening shock or sepsis. So this surgery may have saved the man’s life.
When the poor guy arrived at the hospital, he was weak, he could barely talk, he was moaning in pain and had trouble breathing. According to doctors, his abdomen was so distended that he looked nine months pregnant.
The man told doctors he had suffered from constipation his whole life, finding only minor relief from laxatives. (Any type of laxative—bulk-forming, saline, hyperosmotic—won’t work properly if your intestines don’t). Still, his parents never deemed his issues serious enough to warrant medical attention.
“It looked like it could explode at any time,” said Yin Lu of Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, where the surgery was performed. The surgery took three hours; at the end, doctors had successfully removed the affected part of his colon—along with the fecal buildup. He’s expected to fully recover.
— AsiaOne (@sphasiaone) June 12, 2017