Advocate Children's Hospital completes successful operation on baby born with 2 spines, 4 legs

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Surgeons at Advocate Children's Hospital in Chicago successfully operated on a baby from West Africa who was born with two spines and an extra set of legs coming out of her neck, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The surgery on Dominique, a 10-month-old from Cote d'Ivoire or the Ivory Coast, took place March 8. She is doing well in her recovery and has already started sitting up again. The hospital's physicians say she should be able to live a normal, fully functional life.

"Her recovery has been amazing," said Nancy Swabb, who is hosting Dominique in her Edgebrook neighborhood home while she recovers in the U.S., according to the report. "Children are so resilient."

Dominique "was born with a parasitic conjoined twin. The bottom half of her not-fully developed twin's body protruded from her neck and back until her risky but successful surgery last week. She came to the U.S. for specialized medical care and is recovering with her foster family in Chicago while her parents and siblings await her return home," a statement from Advocate Children's Hospital reads.

Only a handful of such cases have ever been documented, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"It's as if the identical twin sort of dove into her body from the back and the only part sticking out were the hips and legs, said John Ruge, MD, who was part of the surgical team on the case, according to the report. The physicians feared that if the parasitic twin wasn't removed, Dominique could eventually become paralyzed. They were also concerned that her heart and lungs wouldn't be able to support the demands of another half body, according to the report.

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