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A baby with two heads


In China, a two-headed baby girl was born last week. This anomaly had been detected only a few days before delivery. A rare phenomenon that can not happen in France, as explained by Professor Yann Révillon, head of pediatric visceral surgery department at the Necker Children's Hospital in Paris. (News of 17/05/11)

Could a child with two heads be born in France?

  • Pr Révillon: this anomaly related to a case of Siamese children is extremely rare, with a probability between 1 in 50 000 births and 1 in 100,000 births. Such a phenomenon could not happen in France where medical monitoring during pregnancy and prenatal screening are extremely precise, with at least three ultrasounds. Such a malformation, a body with two cephalic poles, is visible as the nose in the middle of the figure and detectable very quickly. If necessary, a medical termination of pregnancy (GMI) would be carried out.

You practiced several separations of Siamese children. In the present case can one envisage an intervention?

  • Pr Révillon: From what I know, it is strictly inoperable. Separation requires very specific parameters. In 2009, the Malagasy Siamese that I operated at Necker were connected by the skin of the belly and by the liver, which allowed me to make and succeed the separation. In the case of this little Chinese, it is not possible, even imagining to cut one of the heads, because there are unfortunately too many malformations.

This child is condemned to live with two heads?

  • Pr Révillon: Chinese medical teams announced that they would do nothing to keep alive this child whose vital prognosis would be compromised. The best thing we can wish for is that it does not survive.

Interview by Frédérique Odasso