The medical community is still reeling Friday over news that a 9-year-old girl from Greece had a two-inch growth -- believed to be her twin embryo -- removed from her stomach.
"It is a very rare situation to have an embryo inside a twin. I cannot recall anything like that in my practice over the years. I have only heard about it through medical literature,” said Dr. Kathy Anderson, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist located in Costa Mesa, Calif.
According to Dr. Andreas Markou, head of Larissa General Hospital’s pediatric department, cases where one of a set of twins absorbs the other in the womb occurs in one of 500,000 live births.
The embryo was reportedly a formed fetus with a head, hair and eyes but no brain or umbilical cord.
“The cause is a divided or delayed embryo that did not mature for some reason. I am surprised it took this long for symptoms to appear,” Anderson said.
The girl, who was not identified, was taken to the hospital when her family could see on the right side that her belly was swollen.
“They couldn't suspect that this tumor would hide an embryo,” said hospital director Iakovos Brouskelis.