Wang Cheng, a 24 year-old Chinese girl often referred to as ‘Elephant Legs’, has a rare medical condition of elephantiasis, which has caused her legs to swell nearly three times their normal size.
Wang has suffered from the condition since the age of 6 and currently cannot even wear pants because of the pain it causes her 110 pound legs.
“I cannot go out to work. Nor can I wear trousers as normal people.” Wang said while sitting in her bed at Taipei Municipal Wan Fang Hospital waiting for an upcoming operation.
Living with a paralyzed father and an unemployed mother in China, Wang was given a blessing when she was offered an opportunity to receive free surgery that would cut away some of the lymphatic tissue in her legs.
Hsu Wen-hsien, a senior doctor who will lead the operation on Monday, indicated that he had never seen such a sever case in all his 30 years experience.
“In the past cases, none of the patients have had two legs swelling to this size,” said Hsu.
The operation is expected to reduce Wang’s leg size by about 35% initially, and up to 50% after about 2 months of rehabilitation.
Taiwanese Buddhist group Fo Kuang Shan is paying for the travel expenses to Taiwan and non-medical expenses while the 10-hour operation and related care, estimated at $17,600, is being provided free by the hospital.
Elephantiasis, or lymphatic filariasis, is often transmitted by mosquitoes.