A Bangladeshi toddler born with a third leg attached to her pelvis is returning home after successful surgery in Australia.
Choity Khatun, who is three, was born with caudal twinning, meaning that part of a twin had developed in her pelvis.
Australian surgeons spent months working out how to remove the extra limb and reconstruct her pelvic area.
The toddler was brought to Australia from her village in Bangladesh by a charity, Children First Foundation.
Dr Chris Kimber, head of surgery at Monash Children’s Hospital in Victoria, said Choity’s case was very rare and the surgery had been “daunting”.
“The operation is sort of determined by the individual and you have to spend a lot of time trying to analyse what’s there and then plan a procedure that takes that into account,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Australian team held extensive discussions with doctors in Bangladesh, who had already performed some surgery.
The team had to determine whether further surgery was even possible or beneficial before she was brought to Australia last year.
Doctors in Bangladesh had removed part of the leg “but she was still left with a large mass sitting there in her pelvis between her two normal legs”, Dr Kimber said.
“Because there’s part of a twin in there, she had two rectums, two vaginas, potentially two anuses – double bits that were growing into a very abnormal area.”
After a lengthy planning process, the team embarked on the surgery in November.
They removed the part of the leg that was left behind and carried out reconstruction work to ensure the little girl was continent – something that will help her to function much better back at home.
Dr Kimber said the toddler, who is partially blind, was now walking and running around, and had put on weight.
He said she might need further corrective surgery during her teenage years but would be able to return home to Bangladesh with her mother “without medication or surgical aids”.
Her mother, Shima Khatun, told Australian media on Thursday she was looking forward to going home to her family and watching her daughter play.
“Everything is good now… she can play like other babies… she is the same [as them],” she said.