Doctors said it was almost like the otherwise healthy baby was born ‘pregnant’ with his own twin.
At only 7cm long, the malformed fetus had a brain and limbs, and weighed around 150g.
The extraordinarily rare condition has been recorded fewer than 200 times, and is described as fetus in fetu.
Had the brothers developed normally, they would have been identical twins. However early in the pregnancy one embryo engulfed the other, restricting its access to nutrients from the placenta.
Dr. Bhavna Thorat, a radiologist at Bilal Hospital in Mumbra, where the 19-year-old mother gave birth, said the twin was spotted during a routine scan several weeks before mum went into labour.
Scans on the newborn revealed in more detail what had happened.
‘I could see bones of the upper and lower limbs of the fetus,’ Dr Thorat recalls.
‘The unique thing about it was I could see a tiny head with the brain inside. However, this parasitic twin didn’t have a skull bone.’
The newborn underwent surgery to remove the twin, and doctors say he and his mother are both recovering well.
This article first published on New Idea.