• The child had swelling and pain around her abdominal area
  • The fetus was pressing the child's right kidney and renal vessels
  • The surgery lasted three hours and the child is recovering 

Doctors have successfully removed an undeveloped embryo weighing around 400 grams from the body of an 18-month-old baby girl. The child had a rare medical condition called 'Fetus in Fetu.'

The rare surgery was performed in the Indian state of Gujarat on July 22, reported The Times Of India. The girl is recovering and has left the hospital.

According to the doctors, the child's parents took her to them after she began experiencing pain around her abdominal area. "The couple got worried due to the swelling of her stomach. The CT scan revealed the presence of the fetus," a senior doctor of the medical team told the news outlet.

The couple consulted several daughters in their home state of Madhya Pradesh but couldn't find the right treatment. "As soon as we got to know about the pediatrics department of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on Twitter, we brought her here," the child's father was quoted by India Today.

Fetus in fetu, which means "fetus within the fetus," is defined as a condition in which a developmentally abnormal fetus is found inside the body of its otherwise healthy twin, Live Science reported.

This happens when one of the twins in the uterus is malformed and parasitic and grows in another's body.

"Across the world, there might be about 200 cases reported in the literature. For us, it is the third such case," said the medical team lead.

In this case, the fetus was pressing the child's right kidney and renal vessels. Had the fetus not been removed, it could have compressed other organs, said the doctor. The fetus had a formative brain and vertebral column.

The surgery lasted for three hours. "It posed a great challenge as the mass is in relation to vital structures which require meticulous dissection," said the doctor.

A similar case was reported in Israel a few weeks ago wherein a dead fetus was found inside a newborn baby's body. The newborn had a big stomach when born, and ultrasound proved there was a partially developed fetus inside the infant's body. Surgery was performed and the parasite was removed. The baby, who has not been identified, is said to be healthy and has been discharged from the hospital.

Representational image. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi