A risky surgery and a normal life restored


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Melvin Jacobs had begun to lose hope that he would ever live a normal life again.

For more than a year, a tumor had been growing on his inner thigh, at first limiting his mobility, then preventing him from walking at all.

At least 10 doctors declined to remove the ever-enlarging mass – saying its location and size made such an operation too dangerous. Jacobs began to doubt that any surgeon would be willing to undertake the difficult task.

Then he found Albert Yurvati, DO, Chair of Surgery at UNTHSC.

Dr. Yurvati’s diagnosis? Jacobs had a large lipomatous, or fatty, tumor that possibly was cancerous. An initial examination and imagery indicated the mass weighed 18 pounds. Unlike others, he recommended surgery to remove it.

Because of the size of the tumor, Dr. Yurvati called in Joseph Ronaghan, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, to assist – and it took both surgeons to successfully remove the mass.

"There were extremely large blood vessels feeding it that were the size of a thumb," Dr. Yurvati said. "We were able to completely remove the tumor, which was the size of a basketball."

Fortunately for Jacobs, there was no evidence of cancer.

"This was the world’s largest tumor ever removed of this type and in this location," Dr. Yurvati said. "Melvin is doing great. He now can walk without a walker or use of a wheelchair. We are so glad that we could help him. Certainly the surgery required a team effort, which we could offer at UNTHSC."

Jacobs is deeply grateful. "Dr. Yurvati helped me when no one else would," he said. "He is one of the best doctors I’ve ever had, and I’m so grateful to have my life back."

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