Baby girl born with ‘parasitic’ twin’s head attached to her body

03 May 2017

Doctors were shocked when the baby was born with an extra head complete with eyes, ears, a nose and lips and a malformed left hand hanging down her chest.

Doctors in India have given a newborn girl a new lease of life after removing the head of her parasitic twin that was feeding off on her blood supply.

PHOTO: Magazine Features PHOTO: Magazine Features

The baby girl, yet to be named, was born via caesarean section weighing 2,2 kg, at a private hospital in Bhilwada in Rajasthan in northern India on 26 April to a farmer couple.

But the medics were shocked to see the baby with an extra head complete with eyes, ears, nose and lips and a malformed left hand hanging down her chest.

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The doctors referred the child for a surgery at JK Lone Hospital in Jaipur, over 500 km away, where a team of doctors detached the head from the infant in a four-hour-long surgery.

"This is one of the rarest cases of parasitic twins," said Dr Pravin Mathur, Professor and Unit Head, Paediatric Surgery.

"After immediate consultation with a team of radiologist and support from assistant professors, we successfully removed the head from the viable child.

"It was a complicated case as the twins shared blood vessels," he added. "They were joint from the thorax and shared common vessels for blood supply from heart and liver."

The parents had had an ultrasound and knew they were carrying twins, but were oblivious to the reality of the pregnancy.

The young couple, who refused to be identified, was devastated with the birth of their first child and had lost all hopes of her survival.

"The parents told us the mother had undergone sonography and other tests but were not told about carrying an underdeveloped twin," Dr Mathur said.

"They were shattered when they saw the baby. We had to convince them to give us a nod for the surgery to save their daughter's life."

"The baby had chances of catching septicemia. We immediately conducted CT Scans, blood tests and X-rays and operated on the child."

The hospital did not charge the family for any health or surgery costs.

The baby is recovering well and is being breastfed. The doctors are contemplating echocardiography and hoping to discharge her in two days.

Hetropagus twinning, commonly known as parasitic twinning, occurs when a twin embryo begins developing in the uterus but the pair doesn't fully separate and one embryo maintains a dominant development at the expense of the other.


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