Feb 16, 2021
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Doctors remove a huge hairball from the stomach of a girl with Rapunzel syndrome

A 17-year-old girl presented to the emergency room after fainting. Doctors did not find any head injuries, but paid attention to a convex formation in the left hypochondrium. The patient reported that she had been suffering from abdominal pain for the past five months, which worsened two weeks before fainting.

Computed tomography showed that the stomach was strongly distended with some kind of mass, in addition, a rupture was found in the organ wall. It turned out that the girl suffers from trichotillomania – the desire to constantly pull out her hair, and trichophagia associated with it.

Doctors performed an operation and removed a hairball that was so large that it formed a cast of the entire stomach. Now the girl feels well and receives psychiatric help.

According to the National Organization for Rare Diseases, trichotillomania affects between 0.5% and 3% of people at some point in their lives. Rapunzel syndrome affects 10% to 30% of these patients, and only 1% develop hair mass in the stomach. The “tail” of this cluster extends into the intestines.

If the pathology is not detected in time, it can be fatal. So, in 2017, a 16-year-old girl with trichophagia died after a hair ball provoked the development of a serious infection.

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