DHAKA –– A Bangladeshi man whose hands and feet have grown to resemble gnarled tree branches is to undergo surgery.
Abul Bajandra has been suffering from a rare disease called epidermodysplasia verruciformis –– which causes wart-like lesions –– for 20 years.
It’s also known as “tree man” disease.
Bajandra first noticed the peculiar branch-like growths on his hands when he was ten years old and tried cutting them off by himself, his doctor Samanta Lal Sen told CNN.
Now he’s 30 and has one of the most severe cases of the condition ever recorded.
“This is one of the most rare cases of disease that I have seen in Bangladesh, even in the world,” said Lal Sen, the chief-coordinator of the surgery at Bangladesh’s state-run Dhaka Medical Hospital.
A rickshaw driver in a small town called Khulna, Bajandra had to give up his job as his condition got worse over time. Now, he can no longer lift a fork to eat, or hold a toothbrush to brush his teeth.
The disease is caused by a defect in the immune system, which increases susceptibility to human papilloma virus (HPV). There are many types of HPV, and the most commonly reported are those linked to cervical cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
After attracting attention in his village, Bajandra’s plight became known to surgeons in Dhaka who offered to perform the surgery for free.
“The surgery is a lengthy process and will involve many [operations]. The whole process can take up to six months,” Lal Sen told CNN.
Like Bajandra, doctors are optimistic about the surgery.