It is certainly true that science and medicine often sway between the brilliant and bizarre just like the case of the four-month-old baby from West Virginia who had a teeth-riddled tumor removed from his brain.
When the circumference of the baby’s head appeared to be increasing during his routine pediatric visits back in 2012, doctors first suspected that something might be wrong with it. Hence, they used ultrasound, CT, and MRI to scan his brain. These images revealed a slow-growing tumour, what the University of Maryland’s Narlin Beaty and Edward Ahn of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center call “heterogeneous, enhancing suprasellar mass.”
Its dimensions were 4.1 by 4.0 by 3.5 centimeters. Then they noticed multiple structures along the right side of the mass that seemed to resemble teeth that are normally found in the lower jaw.
When the child underwent brain surgery, multiple fully-formed teeth were taken out along with the tumor mass. After examining the pathological tissue, researchers revealed that the tumor was an adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma.
These are rare, slow-growing tumors that arise from Rathke’s pouch, an embryonic precursor to the pituitary gland.
According to Dr. Narlin Beaty, a neurosurgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center, who performed the boy’s surgery along with his colleague, Dr. Edward Ahn, of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center,
It’s not every day you see teeth in any type of tumour in the brain. In a craniopharyngioma, it’s unheard of. Craniopharyngiomas commonly contain calcium deposits, but when we pulled out a full tooth…I think that’s something slightly different”.
It is now a year since the child underwent surgery and he is said to be progressing well. However, he will have to undergo hormone treatments for the rest of his life. It is really a peculiar case that’s recently enjoyed a resurgence in interest as the child continues to make an astonishing recovery.
Teeth have been found in people’s brains before, but only in tumours called teratoma, which have been reported to contain hair, teeth, bone and even eyes.