Recently, a team of medical experts in China operated on a 7-year-old girl and removed a hairball of no mean size from her stomach. They say the mass measured about 4 inches (10 centimeters). Otherwise put, it was about as big as a grapefruit.
The surgery went smoothly and the young girl didn't develop any complications. She's been released from hospital and is now in recovery. In a short while, she should be just fine.
The hairball caused the girl tremendous pain
In their case report, the doctors who operated on the girl and removed the hairball from her stomach say her family rushed her to hospital when she started complaining of severe abdominal pain, DM informs.
When she was examined, she had already been suffering for a couple of days. To figure out what was troubling her, doctors X-rayed her abdomen. They found she had an odd mass in her stomach.
Since the mass was very dense and, as mentioned, about the size of a grapefruit, doctors decided to surgically remove it rather than hope it would eventually break apart and pass through the 7-year-old's digestive tract.
Even in surgery, the team didn't remove the hairball in one go for fear that they might cause damage to the sensitive tissue around it. Instead, they carefully and gently fragmented it and then pulled the pieces out one by one.
How the hairball formed inside the girl's stomach
Doctors say the 7-year-old was in the habit of eating her hair and nails and that this was how the ball came to form inside her stomach. Such masses are known to medical experts as stomach stones or gastroliths and can cause serious health complications.
In a consultation with a psychiatrist, the girl was diagnosed with Pica, a disorder that makes people crave substances and things that aren't food. Pica patients are known to eat soap, dirt, stones or wood.
As big as the hairball removed from this 7-year-old's stomach was, it pales in comparison to the one doctors pulled from another girl's abdomen about a year ago. This other hairball weighed 9 pounds (4 kilograms) and also had carpet fibers embedded in it.