The Archipelago

‘Tree man’ undergoes
2-hour surgery to remove

Doctors at the Hasan Sadikin General Hospital in Bandung, West Java, have successfully removed warts growing on the hands of Dede Koswara, 39, often dubbed tree man. The 14th operation on him lasted for two hours on Wednesday.

Despite the success, the operation was at one point hampered when surgeons failed to use a gas powered surgery saw as it could not connect to the gas hose.

“We would have been able to remove the warts on his legs and hands if not for the fault,” said Dr. Hardi Siswo, who led the surgery at the hospital on Wednesday.

The operation to thin out the warts on Dede’s back and palms was performed by three plastic and two orthopedic surgeons.

“The warts that have been removed amounted to 2 kilograms,” said Hardi.

He added the surgery to remove warts on the back of Dede’s leg would only be carried out in the next two weeks.

As doctors failed to use the surgery saw, they eventually used a large surgery knife to thin out warts on Dede’s skin, including those on his stomach and face.

Team doctor head Rachmat Dinata said the warts were caused by the human papiloma virus, which could grow and thicken in five months.

He added the virus attacked skin cells and it had thrived because Dede’s immune system was poor.

He said there was not yet any medicine in the world that could kill the virus.

“The surgery is prioritized to ease Dede’s movement. Based on our experience, the warts usually grow back on the fingers and toes five months after surgery,” said Rachmat.

The team of doctors has been handling Dede’s case since 2007. The operation on Wednesday was the third since he was allowed to return home in 2008.

“Pity him. The warts have become thick and heavy,” Rachmat said, adding the last surgery performed on Dede was in August last year.

At the end of December last year, two doctors from Japan, affiliated with the Japanese Society for Complementary and Alternative Medicine came and brought Dede alternative medicine in powder form and made from coix seeds, which are smaller than corn seed.

The medicine is still undergoing a lab test.

“Although it has been used effectively to cure warts, it still has to be tested,” said Rachmat.

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