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25-year-old foetus removed at GMCH
- Doctors suspected it to be a tumour

May 21: A great deal of curiosity prevailed at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital today after doctors brought out a 25-year-old mummified foetus from the womb of a 65-year-old woman.

Rahatun Nessa, a mother of five children, underwent a surgery to remove the foetus. She was admitted to the GMCH on May 5 with complaints of swelling, like a lump, in the lower abdomen.

Nesse, a resident of Pariapara village at Mangaldoi in Darrang district, had this lump for the last 25 years.

The registrar of the GMCH’s obstetrics and gynaecology department, Nikil Rajkhowa, who was part of the team of surgeons led by Chankya Das, said the foetus was shaped like a stony hard mass and they initially suspected that it was a tumour. He said the CT scan done on the woman showed that it was a case of lithopaedian, a condition where the foetus forms like a stony hard mass, following secondary abdominal pregnancy.

“Secondary abdominal pregnancy, a type of ectopic pregnancy, is not a normal pregnancy. In such a pregnancy, the fertilised ovum is implanted in any tissue other than the uterine wall. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube. In a normal pregnancy, the fertilised egg enters the uterus and settles into the uterine lining where it has plenty of room to divide and grow,” Rajkhowa said.

According to the doctor, if ectopic pregnancy is not treated or managed then it grows to some extent — even up to a full-formed foetus — which eventually dies inside and gets mummified.When the foetus forms like a stony hard mass, the condition is called lithopaedian.

During the lithopaedian condition, a woman may suffer from bleeding disorder . But Nessa did not suffer from such a disorder and only complained of swelling in her lower abdomen.

“It is a very rare condition and difficult to believe that the pregnancy could be inside the abdomen as a stony hard mass at the age of 65. The GMCH has never treated such a rare case,” M.M. Deka, the principal-cum-chief superintendent of the GMCH, said.

The doctors said Nessa’s condition was stable. “I was constantly suffering from swelling even after undergoing treatment in my village hospital. What can I say now? Only Allah knows. I am feeling better now,” she said.

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