A man took his first steps in two years this week after surgeons removed an enormous mass from his leg.
Saidalavi, 46, was diagnosed with elephantiasis as a teenager after he caught the infection from parasitic worms spread by a mosquito bite.
He had been bedridden since 2016 with the massive lump on his thigh, but was forced to undergo an operation after it got infected.
This week, one month after the operation, he stood for the first time while recovering at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, India.
The 46-year-old said: “I thank the doctors from the bottom of my heart for enabling me to lead a normal life.
The 12.7kg growth after it was removed.
“It is amazing feeling to stand on my own two feet without any support.
“I had given up all hope and was even worried that my legs would need to be amputated if the infection spread.
“I have now got my life back and look forward to taking up a job again.”
Lymphatic filariasis – known as elephantiasis – is caused by a tropical infection caught from worms transmitted through mosquito bites.
Saidalavi was diagnosed with the condition 30 years ago and has had a number of surgeries, but the swelling kept increasing.
A team of five surgeons and three anaesthetists removed the mass during a five-hour operation.
Dr. Subramania Iyer, head of plastic and reconstructive surgery said: “It was a complex surgery. Several complications could arise because of the patient being overweight and his inability to walk.
“It was a challenge for anaesthetists to manage the big excision in such an overweight patient.
“Saidalavi’s physical transfer to the operating table and correct positioning during surgery was also difficult and required meticulous planning.
“He will need further reduction surgery on both the legs after six to nine months, and then he will be able to lead a normal life.”