"Tree man" from Bangladesh went through his first surgical operations to remove his bark-like warts from his hands and feet in February 2016. Abul Bajandar, aged 27, was optimistic about his chances to lead a normal life, as a village rickshaw driver, as he used to before suffering from this condition.
After one year since the first intervention, the man's hands are now fully functional.
A Long Road
According to the lead plastic surgeon in charge of the man's case, up to 16 surgical interventions were necessary for the complete removal of the growths on Abdul's extremities, after the condition has developed for more than 10 years, getting to weigh 11 pounds (five kilograms).
The man's father was very optimistic about the first operation, as he believed his only child would be able to have a normal life once the procedure is completed and all the growths will be removed.
"I don't want to return to my village without clearing my hands and feet. I want to get back to my old life," noted Abul before his first intervention.
This extreme skin condition is very rare, and there are only three documented cases worldwide. The disease, called epidermodysplasia verruciformis, is better known in layman's terms as "tree-man disease" due to the aesthetic aspect of the growths. The disease is the result of a problem in the immune system, which also makes the patients more susceptible to developing HPV.
"Bajandar's cure was a remarkable milestone in the history of medical science. We operated on him at least 16 times to remove the warts. The hands and feet are now almost fine," noted Lal Sen.
When he was admitted, the man's primary concern was to be able to hold his daughter, which was extremely complicated, given that he was in the impossibility to shower, eat or to do any other everyday task by himself.
Understanding the implications of his disease, the man approached a television, asking for awareness on his case.
"At first I thought he was asking for money. But when he showed me his hands I realized I had never seen anything like that before," noted Sunil Das SATV bureau chief.
No Longer 'Tree-Man'
As the news of the man's condition reached international coverage, people from all over the world have donated for his case and plastic surgeons at Dhaka Medical College Hospital agreed to treat him free of charge.
Now, one year after his hospital admission, the man has his hands back, as a result of a series of successful surgical interventions. After 16 groundbreaking procedures, the man is "in very good shape," according to Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, the plastic surgeon who led the case. Abul first noticed the condition when he was only a child, aged 15. However, the condition advanced and got to the point where he could no longer lead a normal life.
"I never thought I would ever be able to hold my kid with my hands. Now I feel so much better, I can hold my daughter in my lap and play with her. I can't wait to go back home," the man added.