Doctors in southern India completed a grueling 24-hours operation Wednesday on a girl born with four arms and four legs that surgeons said will give the 2-year-old a chance at a normal life.
The surgery went ” wonderfully well,” said Dr. Sharan Patil, who led a team of 36 surgeons in performing the marathon procedure to remove Lakshmi’ extra limbs, salvage her organs and rebuild her pelvis area.
”This girl can now leave as good a life as anyone else,” Patil said from a hospital in the southern India city of Bangalore. Lakshmi, who has been revered by some in her village as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddesss, was born joined at the pelvis to a ” parasitic twin” that stopped developing in her mother’s womb.
The surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus. ” This is a very rare occurrence” said Dr. Doug Miniati a pediatric surgeon at the University of California, san Francisco, who was not involved in the surgery.Miniati said the surgery was extremely complicated but her chances of survival were greater because she was not joined at the heart or brain.
The doctors worked through the night to remove the extra limbs and organs . By midnight, a team of neurologists had separated the fused spines while orthopedic surgeons removed the most of the ” Parasite,” carefully identifying which organs and internal structures belonged to the girl, said Patil.
Later, the difficult job of reconstructing Lakshmi’s lower body began. The operation included transplanting a good kidney into Lakshmi from the twin.The team also used tissue from the twin to help rebuild the pelvis area, one of the most conplicated parts of the surgery, Patil said