Medical Creepy Mysteries

Parasitic twins and vanishing twin conditions fascinate me because nature can take some freaky turns and, as someone in the medical industry, I'm proud of the things we're capable of doing nowadays to help those suffering to have productive and lengthy lives.

If you ever saw the stylish thrilled by Brian De Palma called “Sisters” and starring Margot Kidder, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen the movie—it’s a definite must-see.

Parasitic twins involve twins in which one has become attached to the other, but is nonviable and yet has to live off the nutrients and blood supply of the viable twin—at the expensive of that twin’s health. Vanishing twins are a similar condition, except in their case, the parasitic twin does not survive and is assimilated by the body of the viable twin so that it develops usually scar tissue around this “foreign” element in his/her body.

Believe it or not, the vanishing twins occur in about 1 out of every 8 multifetus pregnancies and the majority of times the host twin has no idea there is a remnant of a dead twin within. There are only about 100 documented cases of parasitic twins in the world, however.

The beautiful little sweetheart girl (above) born with four arms and four legs was believed by her village to be a hindu goddess reincarnated. Her parasitic twin was fused to her spine and was compromising her blood supply. It took exceptional surgery and bracing, but the girl is learning to walk.

Long ago, those with parasitic twins were given a death sentence. Surgery cutting off blood supplies to the parasitic twin were just too risky. Nowadays, it most can be operated on and survive quite fine.


  1. Wow.

    Two parts of my brain are going off in two different directions...

    One is saying 'how horrible for the kids, not being able to lead a normal life.'

    The other part is saying 'in 18 years, this could make an interesting fetish post on my blog...'

  2. I guess when all you've ever known is this condition, it would seem very normal. I hardest part is for the parents who have to make some pretty grim decisions, often times sacrificing one twin for another or permanently disabling a child by having to eliminate a limb. I just typed up one of these reports this morning of very unusual birth defects--extreme ones and the doctors didn't even have a name for the condition because they'd never seen it. Makes you wonder if they still have a sense of having a twin even when it is removed.

  3. eek... I saw the first one on National Geographic and everyone in her town worshiped her like a god!

  4. Yeah. I wonder if that hurt the family's standing for altering her? Well, I'm sure that little girl is glad they did.


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