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article imageVideo: Peruvian doctors discover 'parasitic twin' inside toddler

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 31, 2012 in Health
Lima - Peruvian surgeons are set to remove a foetus formed inside a three-year-old Peruvian boy. Isbac Pacunda has a rare condition in which a growing foetus "absorbs" its sibling which develops into what doctors call a "parasitic twin."
Isbac's "parasitic win," according to doctors in Peru, has eyes, bones, and hair on his head, but it has no brain, lungs, hair or intestines. It weighs a pound-and-half (700 grams) and is nine inches (25 centimeters) long.
Daily Mail reports that Dr. Carlos Astocondor of the medical team at Las Mercedes Hospital in the northern port of Chiclayo, said the condition occurs in one of every 500,000 live births, and it is called fetus-in-fetu.
There have been other reported cases of fetus-in-fetu in recent times. According to Global Post, in 2008, doctors removed a 2-inch embryo from the body of a 9-year-old girl in Greece. In 2006, a half-formed twin with limbs, genitalia, hair and fingernails was reported in the stomach of a 36-year-old Indian man.
Postoperative specimen of a parasitic twin
Postoperative specimen of a parasitic twin
Nisreen M Khalifa et al
The Greek girl had been diagnosed as having a tumor growing on the right side of her belly, after she complained of stomach pains, before doctors realized it was a parasitic twin. She made full recovery after surgery.
USA Today says a neonatologist at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Jonathan Fanaroff, said a conjoined twin can live as a "parasite," relying on its sibling for nutrition and blood supply. When one conjoined twin fully absorbs the other it becomes a fetus-in-fetu , as in the case of Isbac. According to Fanaroff, "In this kind of situation, because it was inside the other boy, it wasn't able to survive."
Dr. Fanaroff said the surgeons should have no trouble removing the "twin."
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