Embryonic Twin Removed from Young Girl's Abdomen

May 15, 2008 05:19 PM
by Cara McDonough
A nine-year-old in Greece suffering from stomach pain was found to be unknowingly carrying her embryonic twin.

30-Second Summary

Doctors at Larissa General Hospital in Greece examined the girl and discovered an embryo more than two inches long. After it was removed, the girl made a full recovery.

“They could see on the right side that her belly was swollen, but they couldn’t suspect that this tumor would hide an embryo,” hospital director Iakovos Brouskelis said. The embryo was a formed fetus with a head, hair and eyes, but no brain or umbilical cord, according to the hospital’s pediatric department.

Scientists believe that the incidence of one twin absorbing the other in the womb occurs in one of every 500,000 live births.

Vanishing Twin Syndrome, when one twin is either miscarried or its tissue is reabsorbed by the mother, is far more common. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the incidence occurs in 21–30 percent of twin or multiple pregnancies.

But, while rare, situations like the one in Greece do occur.

In 2005, doctors in Bangladesh said they removed a long-dead fetus from the abdomen of 16-year-old Abu Raihan. The fetus, which had grown like a tumor and weighed nearly five pounds, would have become the boy’s twin had it developed normally, they said.

In India in 2006, doctors operating on 36-year-old Sanju Bhagat found what they believe was the mutated body of the man’s dead twin brother. According to ABC, “the half-formed creature had feet and hands that were very developed. Its fingernails were quite long.”

Headline Link: Young girl was carrying embryonic twin

Related Topics: Demroid cysts, Vanishing Twin Syndrome and chimeras

Background: Lost twins discovered


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