Baby 'Carrying' His Twin In His Stomach To Undergo Complicated Surgery; What Is Fetus In Fetu?

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald March 26, 04:00 am

A 10-month-old baby with his twin in his stomach will undergo a complicated surgery to remove the abnormality. Doctors who examined the boy from Indonesia said his condition is called fetus in fetu, which occurs in one in 500,000 pregnancies.

Muhammad Abdalul Zikri Hakim's parents, Asmani and Rusman, thought the growth in their son's stomach was a tumor. They took him to the West Nusa Tenggara General Hospital where doctors examined and tested the baby extensively, according to ABC Australia.

The hospital already rounded up a team of nine doctors and specialists for Hakim's surgery. Doctors said it will be a complicated procedure as only less than a hundred cases of fetus in fetu have gone on record and they have little basis to compare and take points from. Hakim's case could be further complicated if vital organs are involved.

It's still unclear, however, when the surgery will take place since Hakim suffers from malnourishment as a result of his condition. "The malnourishment is caused by the existence of tissues, a foreign object inside the body, that foreign object is a parasite, it eats off its source or parent," Dr. Lalu Hamzi Fikri said.

The condition fetus in fetu, which was discovered by german anatomist Johann Friedrich Meckel in the 18th century, occurs when the twins fail to separate in the mom's womb during the first phase of pregnancy, as in the case of parasitic twins or conjoined twins. In a fetus in fetu case, however, one fetus becomes trapped in the other fetus, according to The Embryo Project Encyclopedia. 

Some cases spanned for years and the fetus in fetu lived as a parasite in its twin's body. Such was the case of a Londoner who learned of her unborn twin inside her body when she was 45-years-old, as per Medical Daily.

Jenny Kavanagh even had two normal pregnancies, unaware her unborn twin continued to live in her body. "I felt shocked, very scared, horrified, and it felt like an alien was inside me," she said. She also underwent surgery for her fetus in fetu.

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