Doctors have operated on an infant boy after he was found to have been carrying a parasitic twin in his abdomen since birth.
The three-month-old boy, who was conceived through IVF treatment, was diagnosed at the Baoji Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital in Shaanxi Province in north-western China.
His parents said his “bulging belly” would not go away, and his mysterious condition caused him to constantly cry and also affected his appetite.
Doctor Hao Yi, head of paediatrics at the facility, found the unborn twin under the boy’s stomach in his abdominal cavity, it having been completely absorbed by its bigger and stronger brother in their mother’s uterus.
Doctor Hao said: “During a CT scan, we found a skull by the boy’s stomach.”
He added: “We also found four limbs and a torso – typical of a parasitic twin or foetus in foetu.”
In a two-hour operation, Hao and his team surgically removed the boy’s parasitic twin growth.
Doctor Hao explained the importance of the treatment, saying: “The parasitic twin would’ve grown together with the boy, until it could no longer receive enough nutrients and die.
“When necrosis begins, it threatens the boy’s life, so as soon as parasitic twins are discovered, they need to be immediately removed.”
The medic said skin and hair were discovered on the parasitic twin too.