View Full Version : Surgeons Remove Second Head From Baby

07-02-04, 04:20
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - A team of surgeons performed a rare and risky operation Friday to remove the second head of a Dominican baby a partially formed twin that threatens the girl's development.

The parents of 7-week-old Rebeca Martinez followed her to the door of the operating room and said a prayer over their baby, holding hands and gently caressing their daughter's head.

"Be strong, Rebeca. May God be with you," 26-year-old Maria Gisela Hiciano, said as she reached for her baby through the bars of the crib.

Led by a Los Angeles-based neurosurgeon, the medical team planned to spend about 13 hours removing Rebeca's second head, which has a partially formed brain, ears, eyes and lips.

The surgery is complicated because the two heads share arteries. Although only partially developed, the mouth on her second head moves when Rebeca is being breast-fed. Tests indicate some activity in her second brain.

Eighteen surgeons, nurses and doctors were to take several rotations to cut off the undeveloped tissue, clip the veins and arteries, and close the skull using a bone graft from another part of Rebeca's body.

By Friday evening, the operation was 90 percent complete, doctors said.

"They have taken out the extra brain and they're closing the cranium," said Dr. Santiago Hazim, medical director of Santo Domingo's Center for Orthopedic Specialties, where the surgery was being performed. "The risks have dropped significantly, but we still can't celebrate."

The operation was critical because the head on top was growing faster than the lower one, said Dr. Jorge Lazareff, the lead brain surgeon and director of pediatric neurosurgery at the University of California at Los Angeles' Mattel Children's Hospital.

Without an operation, he said, "the child would barely be able to lift her head at 3 months old."

Lazareff said the pressure from the second head, attached on top of the first and facing up, would prevent Rebeca's brain from developing.

CURE International, a Lemoyne, Pa.-based charity that funds the orthopedic center and gives medical care to disabled children in developing countries, is paying an estimated $100,000 for the surgery.

The operation had been delayed for about four hours while doctors carefully administered anesthesia.

Rebeca's mother and father Franklin Martinez, 29, waited in a separate room, watching baseball on television and receiving visitors who brought flowers and stuffed animals. Psychologists also visited them.

"When she was born everyone said, 'Wow, two heads,' but to us she was just our baby Rebeca," Martinez told The Associated Press.

Lazareff, who led a team that successfully separated conjoined Guatemalan twin girls in 2002, was leading the operation along with Dr. Benjamin Rivera, a neurosurgeon at the Medical Center of Santo Domingo and the orthopedic center.

Doctors say if the surgery goes well Rebeca won't need physical therapy and will develop as a normal child.

Rebeca was born on Dec. 17 with the undeveloped head of her twin, a condition known as craniopagus parasiticus.

Twins born conjoined at the head are extremely rare, accounting for one of every 2.5 million births. Parasitic twins like Rebeca are even rarer.

Rebeca is the eighth documented case in the world of craniopagus parasiticus, Hazim said.

All the other documented infants died before birth, making it the first known surgery of its kind, according to Lazareff and the other doctors.

Martinez, a tailor, and his wife, who is a supermarket cashier, together make about $200 a month and have two other children, aged 4 and 1.

They say doctors told them Rebeca would be born with a tumor on her head but that none of the prenatal tests showed a second head.

Lazareff has refused to make a prognosis but said earlier this week that Rebeca's chances of survival are good.

07-02-04, 04:25
Wow... what a sotry! Thanks for sharing Deano. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif That's a little (okay, more than a little) disturbing.

07-02-04, 08:09
i'm going to be sick http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/yuck.gif

lara bahun
07-02-04, 10:16

07-02-04, 10:20
These news was at TVE 1 now... http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/yuck.gif http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/silent.gif http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/yikes.gif

the croft woman!
07-02-04, 10:23
awww thats cute

07-02-04, 10:40
This gives a whole new meaning to the expression "looking at someone as if they grew a second head". :eek:

BB http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/wave.gif

07-02-04, 10:44
Originally posted by the croft woman!:
awww thats cuteGarfield is in another topic...

the croft woman!
07-02-04, 11:13
lol, well i honestly think its cute. Gross, and strange. but cute. so there http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/tongue.gif

07-02-04, 11:33
There's something you don't see every day! :eek:

07-02-04, 13:18
I've jut heard about this on the local radio and i was like http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/yikes.gif its amazing how far surgery has progressed over the years ;)

07-02-04, 14:46
what will happen to the second head?

07-02-04, 14:50
It was just on the news, the baby died :(

07-02-04, 14:51
Poor little darling.

the croft woman!
07-02-04, 14:58
aww no thats really sad :(