Doctors at a private hospital in Mettupalayam removed a 3.5 kg foetus from a 15 month old infant, Nisha, after a two-hour operation.
Dr Vijayagiri treated the infant at Sri Ganapathi Krishna Hospital. They had diagnosed her with the medical condition, foetus-in-foetu, where a parasitic twin resides inside the host twin. This is a rare condition with only 200 cases reported worldwide.
‘Foetus-in-foetu is a condition where a parasitic twin residing inside the host twin leeches off the nutrition and blood supply. It renders the living twin malnourished and in pain.’
This occurs due to improper placement during the develop of the foetus. The doctor said that the foetus had grown so big that Nisha’s abdomen looked swollen. She was malnourished and had difficult in breathing as the foetus, which he first thought to be a cyst, affected the functioning of the diaphragm.
It also prevented her from digesting food and she would throw up whatever she eat. The foetus was feeding off her blood supply and depriving her of nutrition.
Nisha’s parents Raju and Sumathi who are daily wage labourers are residents of Punjai Puliampatty in Erode district, took her to the Mettupalayam hospital after the toddler was crying constantly and refused to eat or drink anything.
Sumathi, 28, said”‘She always had a slightly larger than normal stomach but we ignored it until she stared crying endlessly and began having issues breathing and having food. We had never gone for scans before or during her birth.I am thankful to doctors for removing the foetus and giving her a new life.”
The doctors discovered through scans that it was a case of foetus-in-foetu as scan images revealed a large mass that contained bony areas, calcified region and a teratoma-like structure (a tumour containing tissues and organs).
They also showed that the overgrown mass had pushed the left kidney to the right. The left kidney was plastered to the cystic mass. The colon, spleen, pancreas and bowels were pushed to the right side. The blood vessels were splayed around the structure
During the surgery, the doctors removed the foetus in Nisha and placed the organs where they should be. Dr. Vijayagiri said that Nisha’s parents could have learnt about the foetus-in-foetu had Nisha’s mother Sumathi undergone a scan during pregnancy.
Nisha who weighed 8kg before the surgery is now safe and recovering well.