New York doctors shocked by what they find during surgery on brain tumor

The larval tapeworm looked like a "quail’s egg," doctors said. 
(Mount Sinai Health System)

Doctors at Mount Sinai in New York, who cut into a 42-year-old woman’s brain last September to remove a suspected malignant tumor, were reportedly baffled when they found a mass resembling a “quail’s egg."

It turned out to be a baby tapeworm.

“It was very shocking,” one of the surgeons told The Washington Post. “We were scratching our heads, surprised at what it looked like.”

After doctors removed the mass from Rachel Palma's brain they cut it open and placed it under a microscope. They realized it was a tapeworm in the larval stage.

Palma, a newlywed, was diagnosed with neurocysticercosis, a parasitic brain infection caused by the Taenia solium tapeworm, according to The Post.

“Of course I was grossed out,” Palma told The Post. “But of course, I was also relieved. It meant that no further treatment was necessary.”

Larval tapeworm parasites are rare, according to the Mayo Clinic, but can be spread by people who have adult tapeworms and don't wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom. It’s unclear if that’s how Palma contracted it.

Before the surgery, Palma had suffered from hallucinations, headaches and confusion. She told The Post her symptoms have completely gone away and she got a "happy ending."

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