A baby born with four hands and four feet in China was diagnosed with a parasitic fetus, which was then surgically removed by doctors.
The medical professionals at a hospital in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, performed the surgery to remove the fetus that was attached to the newborn's body.
Two months into the pregnancy, the mother, identified as Yan, had found out two fetuses were "stuck" together in her uterus, the Global Times reported. The parasitic fetus had no head and heart, but limbs. Yan decided to keep the baby and give birth.
"We believed that as long as the operation was performed, the baby could live like other normal children," Mao Jianxiong, deputy director of the first department of general surgery at the hospital, said, according to Shenzhen Daily.
The baby's chest was connected to the parasitic fetus by bones, blood vessels, and intestines. The baby had other underlying health conditions, such as ventricular septal defect and patent foramen ovale (a hole in the heart that doesn't close the way it should after birth). The surgery had to be conducted urgently in order to save his life, doctors at the Shenzhen Children's Hospital said.
The surgery took more than three hours, following which the parasitic fetus was entirely removed from the baby. Doctors at the hospital said the baby boy recovered well and was discharged.
The congenital anomaly, also called fetus in fetu, occurs in one in every 500,000 to a million births. The rare condition has been reported less than 200 times across the world. This is also known as a case of parasitic twin, where an identical twin stops developing during gestation, but is physically attached to the fully-developing twin.
Last year, in November, doctors at a hospital in India conducted surgery on an infant to remove a headless parasitic twin attached to its lower back. The parasitic twin had two legs, hands and a back but no head. The two-hour-long surgery was performed by doctors of King George's Medical University in the city of Lucknow.
In another case in India, a 25-year-old woman gave birth to an infant with a fetus attached to its stomach. The parasitic twin had a neck and head, but no limbs.