Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Doctors to remove parasitic twin found in Peruvian toddler's stomach

Surgeons were yesterday preparing to operate on a three-year-old boy to remove the body of a 'parasitic twin' growing inside his stomach. Isbac Pacunda was left with the rare condition after absorbing his would-be sibling inside the womb.

Doctors in Peru say the partially formed foetus has eyes, bones and hair on the cranium, but did not develop a brain, lungs, heart or intestines. It weighs a pound and a half (700 grams) and is nine inches (25 centimetres) long.

Dr Carlos Astocondor, of the medical team at Las Mercedes Hospital in the northern port of Chiclayo, says the condition occurs in about one of every 500,000 live births. Identical twins form when an egg splits in half after fertilisation. But conjoined twins or foetus-in-foetu siblings, as in the case of Isbac, occur when the egg fails to fully separate.

YouTube link.

Dr Jonathan Fanaroff, a neonatologist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said some conjoined twins can survive as 'parasites', but not when one twin absorbs the other. He said that the operation to remove Isbac's twin was likely to be far easier than attempting to separate two living conjoined siblings.


Anonymous said...

That is revolting in a way I never even imagined possible.

Bacopa said...

Zygote splitting is fraught with peril, yet somehow the nine-banded armadillo manages. They typically have identical quintuplets, so one zygote must divide into four.

Are siamese twins an parasitic twins common in armadillos? They can't be that common as, the none banded armadillo moved into Texas around 1900, spread around the Gulf coast to Florida by 1960, and is now found in Arkansas and North Carolina. I don't think they can get much farther north as they are not cold tolerant and need to eat all winter. They can't live where the ground ever freezes.