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21 June 2024 : Case report  China (mainland)

Intracranial Parasitic Fetus in a Living Infant: A Case Study with Surgical Intervention and Prognosis Analysis

Challenging differential diagnosis, Unusual setting of medical care, Rare disease, Educational Purpose (only if useful for a systematic review or synthesis)

Xuewei Qin1BE, Xuanling Chen1BE, Xin Zhao1B, Bo Wang1B, Lan Yao1AE*, Hongchuan Niu2B

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.944371

Am J Case Rep 2024; 25:e944371



BACKGROUND: Fetus in fetu (FIF), or parasitic fetus, is a rare malformation that typically occurs in the retroperitoneum, but can be found in other unusual locations, such as the skull, sacrum, and mouth. The presence of a spine is necessary for diagnosis.

CASE REPORT: Intracranial FIFs were retrospectively studied. Abnormalities were detected in the fetal head during a 33-week prenatal examination; however, MRI could not provide more information, due to space occupation. A baby girl was born via cesarean delivery at 37 weeks, with a large head circumference. She had delays in motor skills and speech development, only able to say “mom”. There was a large mass in the cerebral hemisphere, with a 13-cm maximum diameter, smooth boundary, and internal bone structure visible on head CT scan. Both ventricles and third ventricle had hydrops, with a fetal shape at a continuous level, along with apparent compression near the cerebral parenchyma. After performing preoperative examinations, laboratory tests, and surgical planning, craniotomy was performed on the FIF, under general anesthesia. Following complete mass resection, mouth, eye, arm, and hand shapes could be observed. The patient was unconscious after surgery and had seizures that were difficult to control. She died 12 days after surgery. Teratomas can be distinguished based on anatomy and imaging. Surgical resection is the only curative treatment and its prognosis is poor.

CONCLUSIONS: Intracranial FIF cases are rare and require early diagnosis and surgical treatment. Differentiating between FIF and teratoma is crucial, and monitoring alpha-fetoprotein levels after surgery can help detect recurrence.

Keywords: Fetus-in-Fetu, Teratoma, Anesthesia, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Radiology, Pathology, Fetus

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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923