August 8, 2016
A rare case of fetus-in-fetu was detected in a one-year-old girl child in Tamil Nadu. The child had a malformed 3.5kg fetus inside her stomach, which was feeding off her blood supply and nutrition and suppressing her organs.
The fetus was removed from the child’s abdomen through a surgery at a private hospital in Mettupalayam on Saturday evening.
According to doctors at Sri Ganapathy Krishna Hospital, Nisha, born to daily wage labourers Raju and Sumathi at a primary health centre in Gobi, Erode, always had a slightly larger than normal stomach. The parents had ignored it, said pediatric and laparoscopic surgeon Dr. D. Vijayagiri.
“They might not have gone for their scans regularly. So doctors may have missed it,” he said. “It was only after the child began having issues breathing and taking food and the stomach had grown to a noticeably abnormal size did they go to a private doctor in Erode,” he added.
The doctors had referred the child to Dr. Vijayagiri on Thursday believing it was a large cyst in the baby’s abdomen.
“We also thought it was a cyst till the scan and ultrasound were done. But they showed that there were bony areas, calcifed region and a teratonoma-like structure (a tumour containing tissues and organs). That was when I suspected that it was a fetus-in-fetu,” he added.
The fetus removal was complicated as the child’s left kidney was attached to the tumour. The pancreas, a portion of the spleen and left side of the colon were attached to the fetus and blood vessels were splayed around the structure.
“We had to detach the blood vessels and move the organs away from the fetus without injuring them. Once the fetus was removed we placed all the organs manually in the places where they should have originally been,” the doctor said.
The child is recovering well, post surgery.