Update On Dede, The Tree-Man

Dede Koswara, who I wrote about last year, has the rather unfortunate nickname of  ‘the tree-man’ due to his unusual appearance.

Since that last post, Dede has had a large amount of warts cut from his body, leading him to hope for a more normal and independent life.

When he was discharged from hospital in September Dede, who has had the tree-like warts since his teenage years, was happy to demonstrate his new-found ability of gripping a pen, something he has not been able to do for many years.


Unfortunately, however,  the growths have returned, meaning that the gaps between Dede’s fingers and toes have now closed up again, making basic tasks impossible to perform once again.

Dede is still able to smoke by balancing a cigarette between his first and middle fingers but has otherwise lost most of his manual dexterity.


If you are wondering how Dede ended up looking the way he does then the answer lies in the  Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Normally this can be fought by the body’s immune system but Dede has a rare defect which means that the HPV actually manifests itself as warts that look like tree-type growths.

Following publicity on television after a visit by Dr Anthony Gaspari of the University of Maryland, the Indonesian government stepped in to give Dede treatment as quickly as possible.

Subsequently, he had his first operation back in January last year.

Even though the warts are now growing back, it is unlikely that they will pose any risk to his life.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. ellenkay says:

    i THINK at some point he refused treatment because if he was cured he could no longer perform in a “freak show” as the part of an ensemble group of unusual looking people who did fairly simple (for circus acts anyway) tricks. apparently they, as a group, made a good income in comparison to farmers and other subsistence wage earners in their society. as a sideshow act he made more money, and some relatives began to waffle in their support of a cure, since he would make less money to go toward the family group that he was supporting…which was a fairly large group of people. if any of what i have written is incorrect, please correct my remarks, as i want to know his outcome as well.

  2. Give update on Dede as of 2013.

  3. There has been no information on Dede in years. I would like to know of him as of today,Jan.2012. I do hope he has not gotten worse or that they are continuing to take the warts off. Please send some news.
    Sarah H.

  4. I knew of a man who had the same thing in Mexico. He ate a whole lot of raisins and they went away. The raisins have an antioxidant that gets rid of it.

    • Donna,
      I, too, have tried to find information,updates, on Dede. All info have disappeared. If you have found anything, please let me know. My heart goes out to him.

  5. hi there i pray for Dede to get a normal life i wonder why they didn’t do the freeze off method…I hope they can find a cure for him…let keep sending him love and light…

  6. I watched his documentary on Discovery Channel. If I remember correctly, the American doctor had a vaccine that he wanted to try, but it was expensive and had to be imported, and they had to operate on him before it had arrived. And then they discharged him, and all they gave him was salicylic acid…of course the warts are coming back! It makes me angry that they did not cooperate with the American doctor. Maybe if they had, Dede actually would have a chance.

    • I don’t know the full story on that Ashley but I wouldn’t be surprised if it all boiled down to the cost of the treatment in the end 🙁

    • john fioredda says:

      it was chemotherapy drugs and if I am not mistaken it was $900 (American) per dose.

  7. is there a way to help him get a better treatment? i read some article that says that the problem is money. can people start donating to help him?

    • I thought that the problem was that there wasn’t a lasting cure – have you got a link to the article you mentioned?

  8. Do you think Dede will ever get to live a normal life?

  9. My heart goes out to Dede and I think of him often. I pray there is a cure in the near future!

  10. Hey wtf I can’t see the youtube vid…not available in my country. and what has happened to this dede I have been very concerned with him but there doesn’t seem to be any official updates on him?

    • The video is playing fine for me – which country are you in Mark?

      • I’m from Hong Kong. I’ve searched the whole web including google news for updates about tree man but couldn’t find any! I have eczema myself and I can’t start to imagine what the tree man must feel like =( Pls tell me if you know what happened to him? Thanks =)

        • Well the most recent news that I’m aware of is that he went back to hospital to have the majority of the warts (1.4kg in quantity) removed.

          For the time being it would seem that his condition can only be improved temporarily via such operations 🙁

  11. I feel so sorry for this guy he has been through so much and it doesn’t look like there will ever be a permanent cure for him 🙁

  12. Dede seems remarkably happy considering his plight. I wonder if he will continue to undergo surgery to keep his condition under control?

    • I’ll have to search around again to confirm but I’m sure I saw or heard that further operations were indeed planned.


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