The 'Tree Man' of Bangladesh Gets His Hands Back

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You might remember the story of Abul Bajandar, the Bangladeshi man who gained a measure of internet notoriety last year for his curious medical affliction. Since age 10, Bajandar has suffered from epidermodysplasia verruciformis, an ultra-rare skin disease characterized by extreme sensitivity to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which prompted bark-like warts to practically swallow his hands.

Homeopathy and natural cures didn’t work; neither did trying to remove them himself. They’d only grow back stronger and larger.

Fortunately, Bajandar's story looks to have a happy ending. According to The Washington Post, physicians at Dhaka Medical College Hospital have spent the past year performing 16 separate surgeries in an effort to give Bajandar his hands back. They’ve succeeded.

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Although he’s still recovering, Bajandar now has use of his hands, making him the first person to potentially be cured of EV. (While there is currently no long-term treatment to prevent the growths from returning, surgical excision seems to be effective.) Eating, writing, holding his daughter, and other fine motor skills are now possible. Previously, Bajandar was in so much pain that he was unable to work or care for his basic personal needs.

Doctors say Bajandar still has a few procedures left to go, mainly to improve his cosmetic appearance. While it’s possible the warts may grow back at some point, Bajandar appears to no longer have a need for his “tree man” label.  

[h/t Washington Post]