A baby boy in Pakistan born with six legs is recovering after undergoing a successful operation to remove his four extra limbs, surgeons said on Thursday.
"A team of five experienced doctors have successfully separated the extra legs and limbs from the baby [Thursday]. He is very much safe and secure," Jamal Raza, director of National Institute of the Child Health in Karachi, told Pakistani news site Dawn.com. "The extra limbs and legs were the result of a genetic disease which would affect only one in a million or more babies."
Doctors believe that Umar Farooq, from Karachi, suffers from polymelia, a rare genetic disorder with a low survival rate that only affects one in a million infants.
The disorder occurs in the womb when the cells form abnormally during embryonic development and the embryo begins to develop as conjoined twins, but later stops developing and leaves remaining developments of the disintegrated fetus attached to the body of the other.
According to the New York Daily News, Farooq was born just two weeks ago in Sukkur, located in the sourthern province of Sindh, to a couple who are cousins. The baby had struggled to survive and was rushed to the hospital in Karachi.
Doctors had to first examine MRI, blood tests and CT scan reports to determine which of the legs belonged the boy and which to his parasitic twin before the operation, which lasted eight hours and was performed in stages.
Imran Shaikh, the baby’s father, had appealed to the government and various charitable organizations for funding to pay for his son’s operation and later the governor of Sindh came forward and said that the government would pay for the child’s medical bill, according to the Pakistan Observer.
“We are a poor family. I am thankful to the government and doctors for helping us successful operating my baby,” he told the Observer after the surgery on Thursday.
Shaikh’s wife of four years is reported to be recovering well from the birth via caesarean section, and the Sindh provincial health department said that they were determining whether the baby needed any further treatment to live a normal life.