Indian doctors in first of its kind rare surgery have removed oozing brain tissue from the ear of a patient.
Fungus Cerebri, as this rare phenomenon is called, is an unusual term, given that there is no connection with the clinically defined fungus. This actually refers to the brain herniating into the ear, which occurs when a part of the brain is squeezed across structures in the skull and as a result, high pressure builds up within the skull.
According to history, a 54-year-old man Mr Loganathan, an accountant from Tamil Nadu’s Namakkal district reported to Apollo hospital, Chennai with complaints of intense bouts of headaches accompanied by sharp intermittent pain in the right ear for last six years. This was accompanied by a profuse fluid discharge from his right ear.
The patient had met with a road accident in Erode in 2010, escaped with a head injury and a few months after the accident, he underwent surgery to treat infections in his right ear. After this, the patient started feeling some mass and started having discharge from his ear.
In 2012, when Loganathan reported his condition to his doctors in Erode, he was given ear-drops to “dissolve” the mass in his external ear. In 2017, Loganathan’s ear pain and headaches intensified and this time, he had to deal with a constant, pulsating sound that he kept ringing in his right ear. “The sound would just not stop. It felt like I was living with two hearts – one in my chest and the other in my ear,” he told The News Minute.
Loganathan reported to ENT specialist doctor K Krishnakumar, who performed surgery on him and found that the mass in his ear was actually a part of his brain.
Speaking at a press conference, Dr K Krishnakumar said, “I found that the fluid that kept oozing out through a hole in his ear was the cerebrospinal fluid, the pink mass on the external ear was a part of his brain and the pulsating sound was actually the brain’s pulse.”
Dr Joy Varghese, Neurosurgeon at Apollo, who operated Loganathan shares that the condition could have worsened and caused severe complications if was not treated immediately.
“The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain matter was the fluid that was dripping through his ear. Also, the pink and insensitive mass that was filling his external auditory canal was actually a portion of the temporal lobe. This could have caused severe infections in the brain if left unchecked. He was highly fortunate that he did not develop any complications,” he shares.
After the surgery on November 26, which lasted up to eight hours, Loganathan was closely monitored for post-op complications. Dr Joy clarified that the mass, which was removed from his ear, would not cause any brain damage to the patient.
“In this case, the protrusion was a part of the temporal lobe, which is responsible for memory and emotions. The removal of this would not have affected the patient because it was such a small area and it had scars,” he tells us.
Dr Joy also remarks that this could have been the first of its kind surgery in the country. “We checked available records of similar instances but while it is common for such prolapses in the middle lobe, cases of such a mass in the external lobe are extremely rare,” he shares.
The doctors warn that since the ear is an extremely sensitive and tender body part and has to the brain extreme care should be exercised with any illness of the ear. In addition to this, the thinness of its walls makes it one of the most delicate body parts and any minor accident could pose danger to the brain.