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Doctors Remove Boy's Twin From His Stomach

A 15-year-old boy may have come closer than any other biological male to giving birth. The teen from Malaysia began experiencing bloating and stomach pain when he was young, but the pain began to increase at an alarming rate.

Surgeons ended up removing a fetus from the boy's abdomen, which was his own dead twin.

The unnamed patient began experiencing bloating and discomfort when he was born, but doctors had no idea what was causing the boy's pain. The teen went to an emergency room at a hospital in Malaysia and begged for help when he could no longer tolerate the increasing pain.

Doctors gave the boy a battery of tests, and they came across a hard, swollen, tender mass over the central part of his abdomen. They thought that he had a tumor in his stomach. When they performed surgery to remove it, they found that it was actually the boy's own unborn twin brother.

The twin fetus had leached on to the boy and was feeding off of his blood supply. The fetus was malformed but fully developed. It had developed a penis, a spine had even grown a head of long hair. It had limbs, though they were deformed, but it had no mouth, umbilical cord or placenta.

Doctors delivered the fetus, which weighed in at 3.5 pounds and was 28.8 cm long. "Components in favor of a fetus that were seen within the mass include a deformed skull, vertebral body, and long bones," said the doctors.

The condition is known as 'fetus in fetu', and it occurs when a malformed fetus is discovered inside the body of a born twin. It's an extremely rare condition, occurring on only about 1 in five million live births. Only 200 cases worldwide have been reported in history.

The unborn twin occasionally feeds of the surviving twin like a parasite. When this occurs, it’s known as ‘parasitic twin syndrome’. The twin remains alive, though not equivalent to a living, thinking, feeling human being.

What’s living is the tissue, which continues to grow and develop in some cases inside of the surviving twin. The fetus has to be removed from the surviving twin's body or it can pose a serious threat.

"There is a possibility of malignant recurrence if any of the tissue is not completely excised," said Dr. Rashinde Yaacob, one of the doctors who performed the surgery on the 15-year-old patient. "The operation to remove fetus in fetu is a challenging operation as the mass is highly vascular with multiple feeding vessels. The big size of the fetus has made surgery more difficult as there is high possibility of injuring surrounding structures."

The surgery to remove the fetus was risky. Once it was out, the family asked to have the remains of the malformed unborn baby. They wished to give the baby a private funeral and a proper burial.

According to reports, since having his twin removed, the anonymous boy is recovering.

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: BMJ Case Reports, szefei/123RF Stock Photo, Cathy Yeulet/123RF Stock Photo

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