Eight-year-old Mohammad Kaleem, who became known as the 'Boy with the World's Biggest Hands', has undergone dramatic surgery to reduce them

Scroll down for the full story

Kaleem playfully poses while being examined at Ganga Hospital in Coimbatore
Kaleem waits to be measured and weighed by doctors during a pre-surgical examination

Kaleem was born with a condition which caused his hands and arms to keep on growing, until they looked like giant's hands, and weighed a colossal two stone between them.

Kaleem's parents, who earn less than £15 a month, could not afford to pay for doctors, but managed to take Kaleem to a local village hospital which was not able to diagnose him.

Kaleem suffers from a form of local Gigantism, which has made his hands weigh more than 5 and a half pounds each

Living in one of India's most impoverished parts, Kaleem's huge hands led superstitious villagers to believe he was cursed. The 8-year-old was bullied, called a 'devil's child' and even refused admission to school. 

"The school teachers said they could not take Kaleem. They said his huge hands will scare other kids. So he was denied admission," said Mohammad Shamim, Kaleem's father. 

Kaleem and his father, Shamin, share a moment

As Kaleem grew older, it was becoming harder for him to complete the simplest of daily chores. His huge hands made it difficult for his to wear his own clothes, eat his food, or even take a bath. 

But now after international publicity about his case, the eight-year-old has finally been helped by medical experts in south India, who diagnosed the condition macrodactyly, or localised giantism.

Kaleem’s condition, called Macrodactyly, has caused his hands to grow to a length of 13 inches from wrist to fingertips
This x-ray of Kaleem’s torso, arms and hands, taken at Ganga Hospital in Coimbatore

Kaleem's parents had almost given up on medical help and were living with what had happened to their son as 'God's will'.

But towards the end of last year, the Mohammad family were introduced to Dr Raja Sabapathy - a pioneering hand surgeon who is known for his expertise in micro surgery. Dr Sabapathy took on the challenge to help improve Kaleem's hands. 

Dr Sabapathy in the operating theatre carefully working on the young boy's hand
Kaleem is placed under anesthetic during his first round of surgery

"Dr Sabapathy gave us hope after seeing Kaleem. He was the first doctor who told us that some sort of remedy was possible to help our son," said Haleema Begum, Kaleem's mother. 

A new documentary follows the family as they travel thousands of miles from their village to Tamil Nadu, to see Dr Sabapathy and his team of expert surgeons at Ganga Hospital, Combiatore.

Kaleem uses a cellphone after his first round of surgery

In one of the most complex cases ever seen, Dr Sabapathy and his team were faced with finding a way to reduce the size of Kaleem's hands and fingers, without damaging any of his nerves, so that he would still be able to use them.

"We decided to go for just one hand to begin with. This was our best way to assess the condition," said Dr Sabapathy. "At the same time, we did not want to affect the boy's mobility."

Kaleem’s appearance has resulted in him being bulled and shunned as a “devil child” by some in his village
Kaleem and his father, Shamim, sit together outside their village home

The film follows the family as Kaleem faces an eight hour surgery to debulk his forearm and hand, and further surgeries to reduce the growth plates so that his hand and fingers would not grow any further.

But in the family's home village, superstitious residents remained convinced Kaleem had been cursed and that surgery would be useless.

Kaleem shows the results of the first round of de-bulking surgery

But in their village, Shamim and Haleema were faced with the challenge of overcoming negative reactions of family and neighbours so that Kaleem could settle back into normal life . 

Amanullah Khan, a village elder, said: "It seems that a solution is possible. Here in the village, we thought that the boy was cursed by God. But we think there is a change of fortunes now and the boy might have a better future." 

Shamim is now optimistic that his son will finally be able to have a normal schooling.

Dr Amit Patil with Kaleem and his father following initial surgery

Mohammad Sabir, the local school headmaster, said: "We know Kaleem. He had tried to take admission in the school, but for certain reasons we could not accommodate him. We've now had news that he is being treated.

"With improvement in his hand, we feel that he can begin classes. We are also instructing our schoolchildren to not bully Kaleem."

*The Boy With the World's Biggest Hands is on Tuesday, August 11th, 9pm on Channel 5.'