By Violet Nabatanzi
KAMPALA - Margaret Owino has so much reason to smile. Her son, who was born with multiple limbs and two scrota, has undergone surgery successfully at Mulago Hospital.
The 27-year-old mother delivered a baby boy with multiple legs in May at their home in Nabigingo village, Bugiri district.
Owino and her husband, Boniface Okongo, a farmer, rushed the baby to Bugiri Hospital from where they were referred to Mulago where the newborn was admitted.
A team of medical experts composed of senior doctors and radiologists led by a consultant paediatric surgeon Dr. John Sekabira of Mulago was set up to examine the baby.
The baby was, however, discharged in June on the request of the parents, who were then instructed to report to hospital for weekly reviews until August when the baby was readmitted and underwent the operation on August 19.
'Heart on the right side of body'
The operation lasted four hours and 30 minutes.
Dr. Nassar Kakembo, who was among the team of doctors, told journalists that before the surgery was done, surgeons carried out a number of investigations on the internal organs, alimentary canal, liver, heart and bones of the baby.
Before, the baby had a parastic twin, but that's now history. PHOTO/Violet Nabatanzi
Kakembo said the little boy’s heart was on the right side of the body as opposed to being on the left. In addition, the boy’s liver was also located on the left side instead of the right.
This condition, he said, is commonly known as situs inversus.
Owino, who is nursing her son at the children’s ward 2C, said she is so grateful that her son has undergone a successful operation, adding that the baby is fine and breastfeeding well.
The X-rays, according to the experts, showed that the normal baby and the parasitic twin were attached at the pelvic bone.
Kakembo said the surgery involved separating parts of the parasitic twin from the normal baby.
“During surgery, we cut off the trunk that contained the arms and also removed the lower limb and closed the defect,” he explained.
He added that the paediatric surgeons have performed so many surgeries to rectify congenital abnormalities although this was unique because the baby had many limbs.
The surgery of this kind can cost about sh30m if it is done abroad.
Owino says her baby is fine and breastfeeding well. PHOTO/Violet Nabatanzi
Kakembo said in future, the boy will undergo cosmetic surgery to enable him walk properly. Independent medical sources who spoke to New Vision at the time of birth, described the case as polymelia, a birth defect, where one is born with an unusual number of limbs.
The extra limb is most commonly shrunken or deformed. The causes are several. Sometimes an embryo starts as conjoined twins, but one twin degenerates completely, except for one or more limbs which end up being attached to the other twin.
Sometimes, small extra legs between the normal legs are caused by the body axis forking. A similar case that made world headlines was at Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore, India in 2007.
Two-year-old Lakshmi Tatma born with four arms, four legs and extra internal organs was successfully operated upon.