Tumor the Size of Soccer Ball Removed from Man's Neck
Milton Wingert had been ready to risk death in a high-stakes operation rather than live with a massive tumor in his neck that had swelled to the size of a soccer ball.
But instead, the 81-year-old New Jersey man is looking at recovery after seven hours in surgery at New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center to remove the 6-pound tumor.
Wingert’s suffering began in May, he told the New York Daily News, when he noticed a small growth on his neck.
“It went to the size of an egg, to the size of an orange, and then it was the size of a grapefruit. I was nervous because it was getting bigger and bigger and it was putting pressure on my thyroid,” he said. “I said, ‘This is no good.’”
Doctors removed a tumor the size of a soccer ball from a man’s neck https://t.co/P3KbQQubi1 pic.twitter.com/YQjwfL55Z3
— Niton (@Niton18311642) November 13, 2019
And so he made the rounds of doctors, who were concerned that the risks of operating on the fast-growing tumor were too great.
“I kept seeing different doctors and going to different hospitals, and it kept growing and growing and getting bigger and bigger. I was getting worried, wondering when I was going to get that operation,” he said, according to the New York Post.
He also knew that his appearance was drawing stares.
Then he found Dr. Nazir Khan, a head and neck surgeon who was willing to operate but had no illusions about the risks involved because of the tumor’s proximity to Wingert’s carotid arteries.
Khan said the risk had to be taken because if the tumor kept growing, “it would have essentially compressed his airway” and suffocated Wingert.
At the time of the operation, the tumor had a diameter of about 9 inches and weighed around 6 pounds.
“I told him that this [mass] could come out very easily, or it could be very complicated and that we should be prepared for everything,” Khan said. “I said this could be a fatal surgery, that he may not even survive, and I think that he was prepared for that.”
“It was the largest [tumor] I’ve ever operated on,” Khan said. “It had caused him significant quality of life [issues], so I felt sorry that it had gotten to this point.”
Now that the tumor has been removed, radiation and chemotherapy await Wingert.
“I know that he’s going to need further therapy, and so my training has made me cautiously optimistic in a way, because I know he still has a road to go,” Khan said, according to CNN. “But, you know, I’m happy for him, because I know that he was very scared before the surgery … it was a relatively quicker surgery than we anticipated, we didn’t have to do a reconstruction, and he did well.”
Doctors removed a tumor the size of a soccer ball from this man’s neck https://t.co/rP98VtJjAQ pic.twitter.com/XXXxrriBFk
— CNN (@CNN) November 13, 2019
Wingert admitted the future has some clouds.
“I’m nervous,” he said. “But I’m ready.”
About one thing, however, he is certain.
“Dr. Khan saved the day,” Wingert said. “He saved my life.”
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