A baby born in China with four hands and four feet was diagnosed with a parasitic fetus, which doctors then surgically removed.
Medics at a hospital in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province, performed the operation to remove the fetus attached to the newborn’s body.
Two months into the pregnancy, the mother identified as Yan found two fetuses “stuck together” in her uterus, the Global Times reported. The parasitic fetus had neither a head nor a heart, only limbs. Yan decided to keep the baby and give birth.
“We believed that as long as the surgery is done, the baby could live like other normal children,” said Mao Jianxiong, deputy director of the hospital’s first department of general surgery, according to the Shenzhen Daily.
The baby’s breast was connected to the parasitic fetus by bones, blood vessels, and intestines. The baby had other underlying health issues, such as a ventricular septal defect and a patent foramen ovale (a hole in the heart that doesn’t close as it should after birth). The operation was urgent to save his life, doctors at Shenzhen Children’s Hospital said.
The operation lasted more than three hours, after which the parasitic fetus was completely removed from the baby. Doctors at the hospital said the little boy made a good recovery and was discharged.
Also known as a fetus within fetu, the congenital anomaly occurs in one in every 500,000 to one million births. The rare disease has been reported fewer than 200 times worldwide. This is also known as a parasitic twin case, where an identical twin stops developing during pregnancy but is physically attached to the fully developing twin.
Last year in November, doctors at a hospital in India performed surgery on an infant to remove a headless parasitic twin attached to his lower back. The parasitic twin had two legs, hands, and a back, but no head. The two-hour operation was performed by doctors from King George’s Medical University in the city of Lucknow.
In another case in India, a 25-year-old woman gave birth to a child with a fetus attached to her abdomen. The parasitic twin had a neck and a head, but no limbs.