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World's Tallest Man Stretches Out for Needed Gamma Knife Surgery

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 7:32am
Bio-Medicine.Org

ATLANTA, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Much of Sultan Kosen's eight feet, two-inch stature rose up in an 17-year period starting at age 10, when the benign tumor in his brain's pituitary gland highjacked the organ, causing it to secrete massive amounts of growth hormone, making Mr. Kosen's body grow fast and grow without ceasing. He will need to wait several months to find out if his Gamma Knife® surgery last Thursday at the University of Virginia (UVA, Charlottesville, Va.) has inactivated the tumor and he has reached his final height, but his physicians are optimistic.

Mr. Kosen—confirmed by Guinness World Records as the Tallest Living Man—had reached the limits of what open surgery, standard radiation therapy or medication could do for him to treat the tumor responsible for his acromegaly.

"What was left was a small amount of tumor in a difficult-to-reach area," says Jason Sheehan, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of UVA's Gamma Knife Center. "We delivered his Gamma Knife radiosurgery in about an hour-and-a-half on August 18. Mr. Kosen experienced a little discomfort as we tried to fit the stereotactic frame around his head, but were able to assemble the frame around his large cranium. Overall, the treatment went very smoothly and his prognosis is pretty favorable. We predict either his growth hormone secretion will hit a normal level within six to 24 months or it will be sufficiently improved that his acromegaly can be much more easily controlled with medication."

Gamma Knife radiosurgery, a gentler alternative to traditional brain surgery, delivers up to thousands of low-intensity radiation beams to one or more targets and with pinpoint accuracy. In

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