Parasitic Twin 'Feeds Off' Sibling: Indian Baby Born With Extra Head And Hands On Her Stomach

By Olivia Etienne, Parent Herald May 04, 04:00 am

A rare case of parasitic twins stunned doctors in an Indian hospital after the mother gave birth to an infant with an additional head attached to her stomach. The newborn underwent surgery to remove her twin who was "feeding off" her nutrients.

An unnamed 21-year-old mother gave birth in Ram Snehi Hospital last month to an infant with a parasitic twin dangling on her thorax. The twin had complete facial features like eyes and nose, and also had a hand, said in a report.

Doctors in the hospital referred the parents to JK Lone Hospital in Jaipur to have the infant operated. Survival rate of the infant with a parasitic twin was dismal because she was deprived of vital nutrients, hence, immediate operation deemed needed.

The team of doctors at JK Lone Hospital struggled to free the infant from her parasitic twin because they both share common blood vessels in the heart and liver. Parasitic twins were rare, but the infant's case was even rarer because their blood supply came from the same blood vessels.

After four hours of operation, the parasitic twin was removed from the infant. Parents of the infant, who work as farmers, paid no charges for their child's surgery.

Head of pediatric surgery at JK Lone Hospital Dr. Pravin Mathur said that the mother knew she had twins, but did not know one of them was parasitic. "They were shattered when they saw the baby," Mathur said. "We had to convince them to give us a nod for the surgery to save their daughter's life."

Parasitic twins occur in one out of a million births, per Daily Mail. Only 200 cases of parasitic twins are reported worldwide, according to America Now.

Parasitic twins differ from conjoined twins. The former, also called "fetus in fetu," commonly results from the delay of embryonic twins' separation during conception.

Among parasitic twins, one embryo maintains its dominance in development over the another. Conjoined twins, meanwhile, also failed to separate during conception entirely but both fetuses are viable.

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