An 11-month-old baby in China recently underwent a complicated surgery for almost 10 hours to remove an extra leg he was born with.
Baby Xiao Fei, who lives with his family in Xinjiang, western China, was reportedly born with three legs due to an extremely rare developmental abnormality that occurs in only one in every million live births.
According to the infant’s doctors, the extra leg actually belonged to his parasitic twin, a type of an identical twin that fails to form into a separate baby.
The parasitic twin had not been detected earlier since his mother failed to get regular check-ups during her pregnancy.
The family would take the baby to different specialists after his birth in search of a treatment before he was eventually admitted to the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre.
According to Xiao Fei’s surgeon, Chen Qiu, the child’s condition was “highly complicated.” Chen revealed that they decided ahead of the operation that the boy’s middle leg would be the one removed since it did not serve any function. Xiao Fei’s right leg could also not function properly since it was shaped like a hand.
In addition to removing Xiao Fei’s middle leg, Chen and his team then decided to also cut the foot off his right leg. The plan was to transplant the foot from the extra leg onto his right leg.
Chen added that the operation was made more difficult due to the variety of other conditions the baby was suffering from, such as an undescended testicle, abdominal hernia, congenital heart disease and missing kneecaps.
During the same operation, surgeons brought Xiao Fei’s right testicle down from the abdomen to its usual place. Another operation will be required as the child grows older to fix his missing kneecaps.
Surgeons proclaimed that the surgery, which began at 10 a.m. and finished at 7:35 p.m., was a success.
Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre director Zhu Tongyu would later note the significance of the surgery’s success due to the rarity of Xiao Fei’s condition.
“I thank the doctors very much,” Xiao Fei’s father Ma Xiaolong told Shanghai Dragon Television. “I was so nervous sitting outside the surgery room, but now after I see my child, I’m not nervous anymore.”