Baby with two heads survives surgery

Because of a very rare birth defect known as craniopagus parasiticus, little Manar Maged was born attached skull-to-skull to the head of an undeveloped twin.

The ten-month-old Egyptian baby who had an operation to remove a second head last month has had a second operation to extract excess fluid from her brain.

She developed hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid accumulates in the cerebral ventricles causing convulsions and an enlargement of the skull, said Nasif Hifnawy, head of paediatrics at Benha Children's Hospital north of Cairo.

The doctors planted a valve in her brain in a one-hour operation on Friday that managed to stop her convulsions; Manar'scondition is now stable.

Little Manar remains in intensive care at the hospital but doctors expect to remove her from a ventilator soon and be able to breathe normally, said Abla el-Alfy, a consultant in paediatric intensive care at the hospital.

Craniopagus parasiticus occurs when an embryo begins to split into identical twins but does not complete the process. One of the conjoined twins then fails to develop fully. Manar's case is extremely rare and her survival of the operation was a big achievement in itself.

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