In an extremely rare case, an 18-month-old child in India underwent a surgery to get a parasitic fetus removed from his stomach.

The procedure took place last week at a hospital in the western state of Maharashtra. According to local reports, the boy had been facing health problems since his birth. Recently, his parents noticed his stomach grew abnormally big and he complained of a recurring pain, media outlet the Pune Mirror reported.

The boy was rushed to a hospital where doctors conducted several tests, and found he developed a rare congenital anomaly called fetus in fetu.

Doctors said when the mother of the boy was pregnant, she had two fetuses in her womb, and one of them moved into the body of the other fetus.

This condition has generally affected one in five million children across the world. According to the Pune Mirror, so far there have been merely 200 such cases recorded globally.

“The child had a history of swelling in the tummy for a while and a lump had formed in his abdomen. Due to the lump, the child was unable to eat properly and had recurrent abdominal pain. The mass had taken shape between his liver and the right kidney. The dead fetus had developed toe fingers, skin, hair, bones and a few other organs, as visible through the microscope," pediatric surgeon Dr. Pranav Jadhav told the Pune Mirror.

Jadhav and his team conducted surgery for six hours before successfully removing the dead fetus. Doctors said if the fetus had continued to grow inside the baby’s body, it would have proved fatal for his various organs.

The doctors said they conducted several tests after the surgery to make sure the parasitic fetus did not affect any other organ or create any other complications before its removal.

“My son had stopped eating properly for a while now and was under-nourished. We had consulted several doctors in Nepal, but their intervention did not really help. When the doctors at DY Patil Hospital finally enlightened us about Atul’s condition, we were left dumbfounded. We are very happy that the surgery was successful and that my son can now lead a normal life. We thank the doctors and the hospital for providing the treatment free of cost," the child's mother told Pune Mirror.

Representational image of a surgery. Pixabay