Doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center have stopped the world’s tallest man from growing, according a university news release on Monday.
Sultan Kosen, 29, listed in the Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest living male at 8-feet-3-inches tall, began undergoing treatment by UVA doctors in 2010 to treat his acromegaly condition, caused by a tumor in his pituitary gland that leads to surplus growth hormone and gigantism.
Doctors said that Kosen’s condition had to be treated because it causes a range of health problems.
Turkish doctors had predicted that Kosen would face even greater health risks, like joint and organ problems, if he continued to grow.
"His skeleton just can't support him," said endocrinologist Dr. Mary Lee Vance who treated Kosen in a statement, and previous attempts to stop Kosen’s growth had all failed, and because Kosen’s pituitary tumor had spread to areas of his brain, doctors could not safety perform open surgery.
After putting Kosen on a medication to help control the production of the growth hormone, neurosurgeon Dr. Jason Sheehan performed Gamma Knife radiosurgery, a noninvasive procedure that delivered focused beams of radiation guided by MRI to Kosen’s pituitary tumor.
Turkish doctors confirmed three months ago that Kosen had stopped growing.
"Treating someone 8 feet 3 inches tall is no different from treating someone 5 feet 10 inches tall," Dr. Vance said about medicating Kosen. "The important thing is to stop the production of the excess growth hormone."
However, for the surgery, special equipment had to be flown in from Sweden to fit Kosen’s outsized skull.
"I'm most pleased that we were able to help Sultan," Dr. Sheehan adds. "If he had continued to grow, it would have been life-threatening."