Saturday, May 17, 2008

Girl, 9, carrying twin's foetus in her stomach

A nine-year-old girl who was taken to hospital suffering stomach pains was found to be carrying the foetus of her undeveloped twin, doctors said.
Surgeons in the Greek city of Larissa discovered the six-centimetre (two inch) foetus when the young girl was brought to hospital, complaining of a stomach ache.

"They could see on the right side that her belly was swollen, but they couldn't suspect that this tumour would hide an embryo," said Iakovos Brouskelis, the hospital's director.

Surgeons removed the "tumour", which was a foetus with a head, hair and eyes, but no brain or umbilical cord, and the girl has made a full recovery. Foetus in foetu, a rare disorder of embryonic development in which one twin is absorbed by the other in the womb, living off it as a parasite, occurs in one of 500,000 live births.

In 2003, doctors in Kazakhstan treated seven-year-old Alamjan Nematilaev, who complained that he felt something moving inside of him. When surgeons operated, they found his "twin", which had a head, hair, genitals and a partially-formed face.

In 2006, a Chilean boy was born in the southern city of Temuco with a four-in-long-foetus inside his abdomen.

Doctors remain unsure as to what causes the condition.


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