“Tree Man” Cured After Life Changing Surgery


Mahmoud Taluli, a man in Gaza with an extremely rare skin condition, “tree man syndrome” says his life changed after surgical treatment. The 44-year-old man, in the last two years, underwent two surgeries to remove extensive wood-like lesion on his hands. Before surgery, he hadn’t been able to use his hands for more than a decade.

He said:

“After years of suffering and solitude, I can finally live a normal life,” Taluli told NPR. “I can play with my children. I can go to family events. I no longer need to cover my hands when I go out in public.”

Taluli suffered from a rare genetic condition called epidermodysplasia verruciformis. The condition made his skin more susceptible to skin infections caused by human papilloma virus, compared to other average persons.

People with this condition have a weak immune system that prevents them from fighting off HPVs which includes a group of 150 related viruses. HPVs often do not cause any symptoms in healthy people, however, with epidermodysplasia verrucifromis, the infection causes wart-like skin lesions, which is 50 percent of the cases progress to malignant tumours.

There is no standard cure or treatment for this condition. Tauli’s treatment involved doctors making deep incisions in the skin to remove lesions. Often the tissue removal required skin grafts from other parts of the body to help with the process of healing.

The treatment allowed Taluli to use his hands again

Although the treatment allowed Taluli to use his hands again, it is not a cure. New growths continued to show up and Taluli will need a fifth operation for the removal of these lesions and some scar tissue. Despite it, treatment has been largely successful in removing the lesions.

Dr. Michael Chernofsky, a hand and microvascular surgeon at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, who treated Taluli said:

“We didn’t know if there would be anything viable left of his hands, but thank God it’s working.”

Doctors are hopeful to ultimately develop a treatment that would help Taluli’s immune system fight the HPVs better.

Previous articleHuman Suction Cup… His Skin Acts Like a Suction Cup
Next article22-Months-Old Conjoined Twins – One Person Or Two People?
Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here