The world’s tallest man received treatment at the UVA Health System in August. Sultan Kosen, 27, traveled from Turkey for radiosurgery on a benign pituitary tumor.
The tumor caused Kosen to overproduce growth hormone and shoot up to his current height of 8 feet 2 inches. Kosen added the last 2 inches in the past few years. Serious health problems associated with gigantism include high blood pressure, damage to joints and heart problems.
Kosen, a farm worker, first showed symptoms of gigantism when he was 9 years old and has since undergone three operations, an external beam radiation treatment and takes medication to control his growth. Dr. Jason Sheehan and Dr. Mary Lee Vance used a Gamma Knife to treat the tumor and expect that in the next year Kosen’s pituitary gland will produce lower levels of growth hormone. Special equipment to accommodate Kosen’s size was brought in for the five-hour procedure. Kosen is the third person with gigantism to be treated in the Pituitary Tumor Program at the UVA Health System and, according to Guinness World Records, he is by far the tallest.