AMMAN, Jordan, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Jordanian doctors have reportedly extracted a fetus from a girl who was only recently one herself, a 10-day-old infant who now occupies a strange and rare place in medical history.
Newspapers Thursday, displaying color pictures of the tiny baby and the fetus after the operation, quoted a senior surgeon at the government-run al-Bashir Hospital in Amman as saying the infant was in good health and discharged from hospital.
Mazen Naseer, head of the pediatric surgery department at the hospital, was reported as saying the fetus was linked with an umbilical cord to the baby's liver. He said the umbilical cord contained an artery that supplied blood to the fetus.
The papers did not say when the operation was conducted nor revealed the name of the infant or family.
The surgeon said the fetus was found inside a membrane within the infant's belly. He added that the membrane also contained liquid.
Naseer said the baby's mother had suspected something was wrong with her child when she discovered her belly was swollen and took her to the physician for tests.
The doctor described the medical case as "very rare," adding that only about 70 such cases have been reported worldwide.
Naseer said there were several theories explaining this phenomenon, but that the "most acceptable one is that the fetus was a twin of the baby. But as a result of an abnormality during the development process, the fetus was probably contained (absorbed) inside the belly of the other."
The condition, called fetus in fetu, often results in a calcified mass and can be mistaken at first for a tumor. But in some cases, the absorbed twin retains a discernable shape with head and developing limbs, hair or even facial features.