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Girl born with 8 limbs smiling after surgery

Posted by skraghav on November 12, 2007

A two-year-old Indian girl born with four arms and four legs was recovering in intensive care today after a successful 27-hour operation to remove her headless, conjoined twin.


Lakshmi Tatma, the daughter of a poor Indian labourer from the eastern Indian state of Bihar, was given an 80 per cent chance of pulling through the surgery which should enable her to walk and move like an ordinary child.

“She has withstood the operation, she is safe and doing well,” said Dr Sharan Patil, the consultant orthopaedic surgeon who led the 36-stong team that operated on Lakshmi,

“We will keep a close watch on her for the next 48 to 72 hours and won’t move from the hospital until she stabilises.”


The £30,000 operation, which has been performed free of cost by the hospital, was fraught with difficulty as surgeons separated Lakshmi from the headless, “parasitic” twin that was attached to her pelvis at birth.

When she was born the inhabitants of her rural village believed she was a ’gift from God’ and christened her ’Lakshmi’ after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth.

Her parents, Shambhu and Poonam, were “overwhelmed” to hear that the surgery had been completed successfully and were allowed to see their daughter’s for just a few minutes yesterday afternoon.

The surgery had proved too traumatic for Poonam who collapsed and required sedation after watching her daughter going under general anaesthetic at the Narayana Health City on the outskirts of Bangalore on Tuesday.

When Dr Patil went to tell the family about the success of the operation he was met by with dumbfounded silence from Lakshmi’s mother, who had not eaten for two days due to stress.

Later, after being admitted to the intensive care unit, both parents tenderly touched Lakshmi, appearing scared to move too close after doctors warned of the dangers of infection.

After applying antiseptic soap to their hands, they gently lifted up the covers and saw their daughter, swathed in bandages, but for the first time with two legs.

After leaving the intensive care unit, Poonam slumped against the wall and shed tears of relief as her husband comforted her.

As well as removing four extraneous limbs, surgeons also transplanted a healthy kidney from the headless twin to Lakshmi and used bone grafts to close her pelvic bones which were set at right-angles to each other.

Doctors said the closure of Lakshmi’s pelvis – a procedure which had been slated to take three weeks using an ’external fixator’ to apply gradual pressure – was an unexpected bonus.

“Every step was successful. There was no setback whatsoever,” Dr Patil added, looking tired but content in a blue surgeon’s gown, “We were able to bring the pelvic bones together successfully, which takes away the need for another procedure.”

Medical teams will now observe Lakshmi until she is out of immediate danger from the operation before assessing how successful they have been in giving her the chance to lead a normal life.


One Response to “Girl born with 8 limbs smiling after surgery”

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