An upcoming surgery in Taiwan may end the suffering of a young Chinese woman who has been unable to leave her house for nearly 20 years because of a rare condition known as elephantiasis, Agence France-Presse reported Friday.
Wang Cheng, 24, who lives in the eastern Chinese province of Zhiangsu, has not left her house or worn pants since she was 6 years old because the condition has caused her legs to deform and triple in size.
Her legs have swelled to 110 pounds, but the free surgery planned for Monday may alleviate the swelling by cutting away lymphatic tissue.
"In the past cases, none of the patients have had two legs swelling to this size," Taiwanese specialist Hsu Wen-hsien, who will perform the operation, told the AFP, adding that Wang’s case is the most extreme he has seen.
Experts are unsure what caused the elephantiasis, but Wang said the condition has consumed her life.
"First it was my left leg, and then my right leg also got the same problem two years later," she said. "Time and again I have been suffering fevers and muscular pains."
Wang will have to stay in the Taiwanese hospital for a month after the surgery and will need two months of rehabilitation when she goes home.