Surgeons Remove Baby’s Second Head

February 20th, 2005 | researchmaterial

Egyptian doctors said they removed a second head from a 10-month-old girl suffering from one of the rarest birth defects in an operation on Saturday.

Abla el-Alfy, a consultant in pediatric intensive care, told Reuters at the hospital in Benha, near Cairo, that Manar Maged was in a serious but improving condition after the procedure to treat her for craniopagus parasiticus — a problem related to that of conjoined twins linked at the skull.

“We are still working on the baby. After surgery … you get unstable blood pressure, you get fever. But she is stabilizing,” Alfy said. “We have some improvement.”

As in the case of a girl who died after similar surgery in the Dominican Republic a year ago, the second twin had developed no body. The head that was removed from Manar had been capable of smiling and blinking but not independent life, doctors said.

Video footage provided by the hospital, a national center in Egypt for children’s medicine, showed Manar smiling and at ease in a cot with the dark-haired “parasitic” twin, attached at the upper left side of the girl’s skull, occasionally blinking.

Alfy said the 13-strong surgical team separated Manar’s brain from the conjoined organ in small stages, cutting off the blood supply to the extra head while preventing increased blood flow to Manar’s heart, which would have risked cardiac arrest.

The doctors decided not to carry out Manar’s operation soon after her birth. “We studied the babies well,” Alfy said. “We had to study how the blood supply of the parasite is working.”

The condition occurs when an embryo begins to split into identical twins but fails to complete the process and one of the the conjoined twins fails to develop fully in the womb. The second twin can form as an extra limb, a complete second body lacking vital organs, or, in very rare cases, a head…

(Found in the dead of night because of Siege, my Alpha Freak brother)


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