Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fetuses in fetu

Fetus in fetu is a developmental abnormality in which a mass resembling a fetus (IMAGE ABOVE) develops within the body. According to one theory the growth is a mature teratoma (a kind of tumor), but according to another theory it begins as a normal fetus but is absorbed by its own twin within the womb. The condition has been documented 200 times in the medical literature, but the case reported in the Hong Kong Medical Journal, in which a Chinese baby was born in 2010 containing two fetuses of its own, is a little atypical. The authors write:
In our case, both the twin parasitic fetuses had body weights, sizes, and fetal structures that corresponded well with a gestational age of 10 weeks. A normal ultrasound during the early antenatal period rather suggests that they might have been tiny parasitic fetuses that had grown slowly with the ‘patient’ and reached their significant sizes at term, instead of the popular theory of early normal development followed by parasitic inclusion and arrest of growth. Although with limited antenatal documentation, our case report does not support the popular monozygotic multiple pregnancy theory, and favours, by default, the traditional classification into a teratoma.
But of course the popular media is blaring headlines about a baby born pregnant with twins.

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