Abu Dhabi: Large brain tumours removed in 22-hour marathon surgery

The size of the tumours ranged from 3 to 6cm


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 3 Feb 2022, 10:40 AM

Doctors at Al Ain’s Tawam Hospital have successfully removed multiple benign brain tumours from a 52-year-old Iraqi woman through a complex surgery that lasted 22 hours over the course of two days.

When the patient was referred to Tawam Hospital, part of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), she was suffering from difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and paralysis of the vocal cords on the left side. Examined by a team of ENT specialists and neurologists, results showed the presence of multiple tumours, with large sizes of 3 to 6cm, in the neck and the base of the skull, which could not be treated by non-invasive methods.

After examination, a team of neurosurgery and ENT arranged a complex surgical plan that included multiple stages of operation over two days. The procedure started with the tumours being dissected from the woman’s neck before doctors moved up to the base of the skull. On the second day, a craniotomy was performed to remove tumours from around the brainstem.

Hospital’s consultant neurosurgeon Dr Mohammed Asha, who specialises in brain tumour surgery and skull base surgery, led the multidisciplinary team, which oversaw the successful removal of all traces of the tumours without affecting the patient’s neurological functions.

The patient made a full recovery and was discharged within a few days. She has since returned to her normal life after a period of swallowing rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

Earlier, such cases were categorised as ‘untreatable’ with patients resigned to losing much of their neurological functions over time.

However, Tawam Hospital has assembled a highly skilled multidisciplinary team with extensive experience in new and innovative medical techniques to provide the UAE community with world-class neurosurgery.

Dr Asha said: “These kinds of tumours require extensive surgical interventions and are often labelled as surgically untreatable due to its complexity and the severe risks involved. Now, with the latest technologies and a highly skilled multidisciplinary medical team, the tumours can be successfully removed without damaging the nerves. With the operation lasting 22 hours, it is an incredibly complex and intricate surgery that is only possible with the dedication and skill of our team at Tawam Hospital.

"The success of this surgery and the fact the patient was able to recover in record time with no complications is an incredible milestone that is testament to Seha's commitment towards offering pioneering multidisciplinary medical care. We are proud to be able to position the UAE as a healthcare hub that achieves global standards.”


The patient and her family expressed their gratitude to the UAE, its leadership and Seha's medical team for the great care that she had received.

Amir Abdel-Khatib, the patient’s husband, said: “My wife was suffering from constant dizziness caused by a tumour behind the cerebellum and a tumour in the neck, after which her condition worsened causing her difficulty to speak. I am pleased we made the decision to come to the UAE and visit Tawam Hospital for her treatment. I will always be eternally grateful for the efforts from the team at Tawam Hospital and the remarkable difference they have made to my wife’s health and quality of life.”

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