Infant Born With Four Legs Has Been Successfully Separated From Her 'Parasitic Twin'


Dominique is a ten-month-old girl from the Ivory Coast. What makes her special is that she was born with four legs and two spines. Fortunately, she has been successfully separated from her parasitic twin. Here are the details.


The parasitic identical twin never really developed but became attached to Dominique, growing out of her body.

Dominique recently underwent a six-hour procedure involving five surgeons at the Advocate Children's Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, on March 8th.

She is now thriving with a Chicago-based foster family who heard about the ten-month-old's plight through Facebook.

They will look after her until she is well enough to return home, her doctors and foster mother told.

'It's going rather well. She was only in the hospital a total of five days. She's been home with "step-mom" and just doing very, very well,' said pediatric and reconstructive surgeon Frank Vicari.

"There were many risks involved with detaching the parasitic twin - the biggest of which included paralysis, spinal destabilization and closure of a large defect."

"There also was a chance of impacting shared functions, such as the urinary function."

"Before going into the operating suite, our interdisciplinary team identified where the dangers would be and how we would minimize them."

"That way we were prepared for anything that could occur. And I'm pleased to say the surgery was a success and Dominique has an excellent prognosis."

"The fact that the twins were conjoined at the spine makes Dominique's condition exceedingly unique and rare," said John Ruge, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at the hospital.

"It also made the separation surgery complex. But it was crucial to give this beautiful baby girl the chance to live a long and normal life." he said.

"A parasitic twin is an identical twin that fails to fully separate in development. In other words, not another independent twin, but a twin that was dependent on her body system, such that Dominique's heart and lungs provided the nourishment," Dr. Ruge added.

Nancy Swabb, from Edgebrook, Illinois, has looked after Dominique since she arrived in the United States for the surgery.

"She's been a joy. We really enjoyed having her in our family," said Ms Swabb.

"She has touched our hearts. She's a member of our family," she said. "She's pretty amazing."
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