Why does this patient’s head look like a mattress?

Credit: New England Journal of Medicine

A recently published study has reported a rather rare case of thick folds of skin appearing on the head of an Italian man.  Doctors believe that the ridges are due to a hormonal problem caused by a benign tumor in the brain!  

A head that looks like a mattress

Doctors from the endocrinology clinic in Padoue, Italy have described this unusual case in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on the 2 May 2019.  The 37 year old patient often suffered from sore heads from the age of four years old as well as joint pain and heavy sweating.  Doctors remarked several observations on his arrival at the hospital.  The most obvious observation was a thickening of skin and ridged marks on his head.

Doctors also noted that the patient’s jaw was abnormally big similar to all other extremities like hands and feet.  More thorough examinations allowed doctors to diagnose an acromegaly, which is when there is an over-secretion of the growth hormone.  The gland producing this hormone (hypophyse) contained a non cancerous tumor the size of a bean.  This tumor, which was  revealed using MRI scans, was caused as a result of the acromegaly.

Credits: Wikipedia

Another illness detected

After the acromegaly was diagnosed, a second condition was quickly identified called Cutis verticis gyrata (CVG).  According to the doctors, this condition is also linked to the acromegaly.  It is a rare and slowly evolving condition which produces thick and folded ridges of skin on the person’s scalp. This condition, which affects the skin’s hypertrophy and hyperlaxity, develops more commonly in men.   Due to an increase in the volume and elasticity of the skin, thick folds of skin appear that resemble the cerebral convolution, particularly the gyri of the cerebral cortex!

The patient’s tumor was removed successfully and he has been placed on hormone therapy to stop the excessive production of growth hormones. In addition, the soft tissues of his scalp were injected with fillers to restore a more normal appearance.  Regardless the patient will still suffer from some deformation of the scalp due to this rare illness.

Sources : Daily MailMedisite

Related articles:

Drinking too much alcohol as a teenager can reduce brain development

Scientists have managed to connect three brains

Brain eating ameba kills an young American man