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'Elephant Man' With 25kg Facial Tumour Has Life-Changing Surgery

15/10/2014 15:06 BST | Updated 15/10/2014 16:59 BST

A man who was cruelly dubbed China’s ‘elephant man’ has had a fourth operation to remove the world’s biggest facial tumour.

Huang Chuncai from Hunan Province, China had a 25kg growth that hung down to his waist.

In a series of four life-saving operations he has had 21kg of the mammoth tumour removed – and can finally lead a normal life.

chinas elephant man

Huang Chuncai was left virtually debilitated by the 25kg tumour hanging from his face

The 37-year-old has the worst case of Neurofibromatosis ever recorded and he could barely move, eat or sleep.

The rare condition causes excessive cell growth and tumours that disfigured Huang’s face.

Huang was left untreated for 30 years as his parents could not afford medical treatment and he grew to just 4 foot in height as the pressure of the 25kg tumour on his spine stunted his growth and gave him a hunchback.

Surgery for China's 'Elephant Man'

He said: “My tumour was enormous and heavy, I had to hold it while I was walking around.”

When his parents were offered money to send him to a circus freak-show, Huang was so humiliated he considered suicide

In 2007 media coverage raised awareness of Huang’s plight and he was offered major facial surgery by the Chinese Government.

Doctors at Fuda Cancer Hospital weren’t convinced surgery was possible due to the size of the tumour.

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Chief physician at Fuda Hospital, Wu Binghui said: “I was shocked, I had never seen a tumour as big as Huang’s on a human body.

“I was completely overwhelmed. The tumour was huge and full of blood. It would flow out when you cut it.”

But in four life-changing operations over the course of seven years, the surgeons managed to remove 21kg of the massive facial deformity.

Huang's mother He Baohua said: “I think his face is smaller and thinner and we are so happy that his life is easier and happier now."

tumour

Huang's growth was stunted by the weight of the tumour

Now – after his final operation – Huang is looking forward to living a normal life.

He said: “I feel really good, this time my face feels even better – much lighter and it’s easier to eat.

“I hope I can do some work and earn some money – I will be helping to run our local shop.

“I don’t look as scary as before now my tumour is much smaller.”

To see Huang’s transformation, tune into a new series of Body Bizarre, which airs on Thursday at 9pm on TLC.

Surgery for China's 'Elephant Man'