Milton Wingert spent months consulting doctors about the tricky procedure, which proved challenging due growth's precarious neck location

By Benjamin VanHoose
November 14, 2019 11:48 AM
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Mount Sinai Health System in NYC

One New Jersey man can now rest easy following the successful removal of a large growth from his neck.

Milton Wingert, 81, had been pursuing medical attention for six months — hoping to be rid of the tumor that eventually amassed to the size of a regulation soccer ball — before he found Dr. Nazir Khan.

A surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, specializing in “medical and surgical management of benign head and neck tumors,” Khan took on the patient who had been searching for the right doctor to perform the procedure.

And while Wingert’s tumor was on its way to becoming a life-threatening ordeal, the surgery to remove the growth also posed high risk, due to the tumor’s precarious positioning around his throat and veins.

Dr. Nazir Khan and Milton Wingert
Mount Sinai Health System in NYC

“I want everybody to be prepared, before we step in the operating room, for any scenario,” Khan told CNN, discussing his honest approach to any patient’s care. “When a case is more complicated, my thought process is always, ‘What is the best-case scenario, what’s the worst-case scenario?'”

He added, “And I prepare for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best.”

The operation took about seven hours, and the doctor was able to successfully remove the malignant tumor that weighed in at nearly 7 pounds.

“I’m happy for him because I know that he was very scared before the surgery,” Khan said. “It was a relatively quicker surgery than we anticipated, we didn’t have to do a reconstruction and he did well.”

While the procedure is a major step forward for Wingert — who declined to speak with CNN while he’s in recovery but allowed the doctor to share details on his case — he will need to undergo rehabilitation in order to return to the normalcy of his daily life.

A spokesperson from Mount Sinai told PEOPLE Wingert and his family denied to comment.

“I know that he’s going to need further therapy, and so my training has made me cautiously optimistic in a way, because I know he still has a road to go,” Khan added.