The infant was born with a rare condition called ‘foetus-in-fetu’ which literally means a foetus within a foetus.

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Health Health Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 16:59

When two-month-old Lineesh’s mother took him to the paediatrician for constipation, no one expected what the examination revealed. The doctor noticed a swelling in his abdominal region and advised the parents to take the child for an ultrasound scan.

“When we did the scan, we got to know that this was a case of foetus-in-fetu,” says Gayathri P, Lineesh’s mother.

‘Foetus-in-fetu’ literally means foetus within a foetus as described by German anatomist Johan Friedrich Meckel. In this rare yet not unheard of condition, the pregnancy starts out as a twin pregnancy early on. While one of the embryos develops normally, the other becomes “trapped” within the abdomen or chest region of the normal embryo. This is thought to occur due to abnormal cell division which in some instances leads to the formation of conjoined twins. In this instance, it led to the development of a “parasitic twin” as foetus-in-fetu is sometimes referred to as.

The boy was ultimately admitted at St Philomena’s Hospital in Bengaluru where a team of paediatric surgeons decided that surgical intervention was needed at the earliest.

The boy was brought to the hospital where a team of paediatric surgeons were able to diagnose him with the condition after doing an MRI scan to confirm the presence of an undeveloped foetus inside.

Doctors took the boy for surgery on Tuesday and were able to remove the other foetus inside. A group of paediatric surgeons including Dr Robert Charles and Dr Vedarth, performed the procedure.

“The undeveloped foetus had been covered in a membrane, in the way that a normal foetus would be found inside a pregnant woman. We could tell that some features had begun to develop including hands and legs,” Dr Robert explained.

The boy was kept under observation for a few days and sent home on Friday, just days after the surgery.

“He’s active and doing well,” Gayathri says.