On March 28 in Ratlam, India, Shaheen Khan gave birth to what appeared to be a baby with two heads, three arms, and two hearts. The condition is known as dicephalic parapagus, where two infants are joined by one torso. While this condition often results in a stillbirth, the miracle conjoined twins have so far survived and have been admitted to a hospital in the nearby city of Indore to be monitored by doctors. In this article, we will explore what dicephalic parapagus is, its prevalence, and the potential surgical procedures that could be performed.
Understanding Conjoined Twins with Dicephalic Parapagus
What Are Conjoined Twins with Dicephalic Parapagus?
The prevalence of conjoined twins has been previously estimated to be one in 50,000 to 100,000 births, according to the American Journal of Medical Genetics. Of this, around 11 percent are dicephalus parapagus twins, according to a historic review in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. The most common type of conjoined twins are joined at the chest or abdomen.
Dicephalus parapagus twins, on the other hand, are joined side to side at the pelvis and part or all of the abdomen and chest, but with separate heads. The twins can have two, three (tribrachius), or four (tetrabrachius) arms and two or three legs.
What Causes Conjoined Twins with Dicephalic Parapagus?
Conjoined twins are caused by a fertilized egg beginning to split into two embryos a few weeks after conception, but the process stops before it is complete. Separation surgery success depends on where the twins are joined. Doctors can only tell which organs the siblings share and therefore plan surgery after they are born.
The Surgical Procedures
The success of separation surgery depends on a variety of factors, including the degree and location of conjoining, as well as which organs are shared between the twins. Separation surgery for conjoined twins is an incredibly complex procedure that carries significant risks, including the possibility of severe bleeding or organ damage. Moreover, the recovery period after separation surgery is often long and fraught with potential complications.
Doctors must take great care to ensure that both twins survive the procedure and that neither twin suffers long-term organ damage or other complications. Separation surgery success depends on a variety of factors, including the location and extent of the twins’ conjoining, the level of organ sharing, and the presence of any complications or additional medical conditions.