We normally don’t see such skin disorder, for some it’ll be difficult to comprehend even, but just because we don’t see this often doesn’t mean it’s not existent.

 Dede Koswara Born in 1971. Was born with a skin disorder called Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV), also known as treeman syndrome, is an extremely rareautosomal recessive hereditary skin disorder associated with a high risk of skin cancer. It is characterized by abnormal susceptibility to human papillomaviruses (HPVs) of the skin. The resulting uncontrolled HPV infections result in the growth of scaly macules and papules, particularly on the hands and feet. It is typically associated with HPV types 5 and 8, which are found in about 80% of the normal population as asymptomatic infections, although other types may also contribute. 

In November 2007, a video of a 34-year-old Indonesian man named Dede Koswara with a similar disease appeared on the Internet. His story appeared on the U.S. Discovery Channel and TLC series My Shocking Story (Extraordinary People on UK’s Five) in the episode “Half Man Half Tree”. On August 12, 2008, Koswara’s story was the subject of an ABC’s Medical Mysteryepisode entitled “Tree Man”. On 26 August 2008, Koswara returned home following surgery to remove 6 kg (13 lb) of warts from his body.  The surgery consisted of three steps:

  • Removal of the thick carpet of warts and massive horns on his hands
  • Removal of the smaller warts on his head, torso, and feet
  • Covering of the hands with grafted skin

In all, 96% of the warts were removed. The surgery was documented by the Discovery Channel and TLC in the episode “Treeman: Search for the Cure”.  However, his warts returned and he was thought to require two surgeries per year for the rest of his life in order to manage the warts.The Discovery Channel funded a blood analysis and found he lacked an immune system antigen to fight yeast infection. He was offered to have more tests run to determine whether it is treatable, and the doctor was fairly optimistic, but he refused the treatment. According to the Jakarta Post, Koswara underwent the first of a series of new surgical procedures to remove the regrown warts in the spring of 2011. Surgery had, however, proven to be a temporary solution for Koswara, as the warts continued to re-emerge. He had thus undergone three surgical operations since his major surgery in 2008. At the end of December 2010, two doctors from the Japanese Society for Complementary and Alternative Medicine brought him a drug made from Job’s tears. The medicine was still undergoing lab tests as of 2016. Aged 42, Koswara died on 30 January 2016, around 03:30 Western Indonesia Time, at Hasan Sadikin Hospital, Bandung, from the complications related to his condition.


In 2009, the Discovery Channel episode “Treeman Meets Treeman” reported on another Indonesian man, from the same region as Koswara, who also has the disease and was given a similar treatment for it. His treatment seemed to have worked better.


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