According to the health officials, the 17-year-old girl reportedly passed twice before she was taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, as a result of these falls, she suffered bruises on her face and scalp. The doctors then ran more tests and discovered a mass in the girl’s upper abdomen during her checkup. The teen had been feeling abdominal pain on and off for the past five months, but it got worse in the two weeks before she went to the hospital. She also previously suffered from trichotillomania and trichophagia, which are both mental health disorders.
After the CT scan, the doctors discovered a large mass inside her damaged stomach with a tear in the stomach wall. The teen was diagnosed with “Rapunzel syndrome,” which is when hairball extends into the intestine from the stomach. After the girl had surgery, doctors successfully removed the hairball. It was so large that it formed a cast of the entire stomach (SEE PHOTO).
Following her surgery, the teen was taken to the ICU and given food through a feeding tube that had been inserted into her small intestine–this was necessary because her stomach needed time to heal. The hospital psychiatrists proved an uneventful postoperative course seven days after the operation, and the girl was allowed to go home. Then a month later, she had no indications of issues. She was progressing well with dietary advice, as well as seeing a psychologist.
This isn’t the first time that a Rapunzel syndrome has occurred. A 38-year-old woman had a 15 x 10 cm hairball surgically removed from her stomach. Not only that, but a 4 x 3 cm hairball was also removed from the top of her small intestine. Rapunzel syndrome, while exceedingly rare, is a real medical condition. In fact, there have been 89 reported cases. The woman went to the doctor complaining of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, all symptoms which are associated with Rapunzel syndrome. Dear readers, we are republishing this story to raise awareness about the Rapunzel syndrome.