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'Parasitic' twin removed from 18-month-old boy's stomach

Last updated: 22 March, 2010
Hyderabad, Mar 22 (PTI): 16:59 IST

A team of doctors at Niloufer Children's Government Hospital here has performed a rare surgery by successfully removing a 'parasitic' twin (unequal conjoint twin)from the stomach of a one-and-half-year-old boy.


The baby boy, hailing from Medak district of Andhra Pradesh, whose name was not disclosed following family request, was suffering from excessive respiratory problems and having pressure over his liver due to the parasitic twin, doctors who performed the surgery told reporters here.

The baby was born at home and had a swelling arising from the abdomen since birth. Around one-month ago the baby was brought to Niloufer hospital and on examination it was found that the swelling had a rudimentary head with hair and a rudimentary mouth, doctors said.

The child was investigated with CT scan of abdomen and ultra sound and all the investigations revealed it to be a teratoma (tumor made up of different types of tissue).
"The baby was evaluated thoroughly and we found that a small portion of the parasitic twin was attached to the liver of the main baby," said Dr K Ramesh Reddy, Professor of Paediatric Surgery, who headed the six-member doctors team.
The main baby was operated upon 15 days ago and the operation took three hours. The parasitic twin having skull, mouth, hair and pieces of brain and heart tissues attached on the abdomen of the main child were successfully removed, he said adding "This particular variant attached to the stomach is a rare entity to be operated upon."

The child is doing absolutely fine after the surgery and will lead a normal life. No complications were seen and the parasitic twin was sent to pathological examination, the doctors said.

Conjoint twin occurs two weeks after fertilisation in mono zygotic embryo. Incomplete and asymmetric fission is the cause of parasitic twins which live at the expense of the normal twin, said Dr P Sudershan Reddy, Superintendent, Niloufer Hospital.
"It's (parasitic) malformed and gets attached to the main twin and becomes a parasite on the main twin. The parasitic twin that continues to grow like a tumor could have led to complications as the main child grew," he said.

If the surgery had not been performed on the baby boy, the parasitic twin would have drawn more nutrients and caused malnutrition to the main child, Reddy explained.
The main child could have even faced social ostracisation had the surgery been not performed and it could have been a difficult proposition for the child when he would have started going to school, the doctor added. PTI VVK YRM SDM 03221658

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