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Lakshmi stable after marathon surgery

Afshan Yasmeen


The “parasitic” part fused to her body was removed

“No major complications during the surgery”


BANGALORE: After a 27-hour surgery, two-year-old Lakshmi Tatma, the “eight-limbed” girl from Bihar, was finally separated from her parasitic twin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The child was brought to the Sparsh Hospital at Narayana Health City here from a remote village of Araria in Bihar.

The team of 36 doctors completed the surgery 13 hours ahead of the stipulated 40 hours.

“The parasitic part was removed from Lakshmi’s body. The pelvis and the perineum were reconstructed during the operation. She is doing well now and has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit. We expect her to be off the ventilator in the next two days,” Sharan Shivraj Patil, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Chairman of the hospital, told The Hindu.

He said there were no major complications during the surgery. “One of the major achievements is that we were able to separate her spinal cord from that of the conjoined twin and have also disconnected and reconstructed her pelvis. She was stable throughout the operation,” he said.

Lakshmi’s was a unique case: she had a second “parasitic” body (that did not have a head) united with hers at the pelvis, thus making it appear as if she had eight limbs.

Her parents Shambu and Poonam were excited to see her after the surgery. “We are grateful to the doctors and God for giving our child a new life,” a joyous Shambu said.

Dr. Patil said it was a “great challenge” for his team. The team had first to carefully dissect vital organs so that they could be preserved during removal of the parasite. As Lakshmi had only one kidney, a second kidney from the parasite was successfully isolated and transplanted into Lakshmi’s body, he said.

The bones in Lakshmi’s pelvis had to be split and then moved to form a ring to support her internal organs. The continuing discovery of unforeseen internal structures made this a difficult part of the operation.

It was important that the ring of Lakshmi’s pelvis could be closed as tightly as possible in order to give her the best chance of walking in later life.

Some of the pelvic bone from the parasitic twin was used to reconstruct Lakshmi’s pelvis into a rounder and more successful shape, he explained.

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