Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

She Ain't Heavy, She's My Partially Absorbed Embryonic Twin

When doctors examined a 9-year-old Greek girl complaining of a stomach ache, they were startled to discover the cause: an embryonic twin the girl had absorbed while in the womb. The girls' abdomen was swollen with the growth, which surgeons removed safely. "Vanishing Twin Syndrome" is not entirely uncommon — experts say it occurs as often as 1 in 8 pregnancies — but the vast majority of vanished twins are completely absorbed by the surviving twin or by the mother before birth. The 2-inch fetus inside the girl did not have a formed brain, but did have hair and eyes.