Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 149, Issue 10, pp 1071–1075

A girl with spina bifida, an extra leg, and ectopic intestinal loops – a “foetus in foetu” or a whim of the neural crest?

  • G. Lende
  • W. Wendemu
  • S. Mørk
  • K. Wester
Case Report


This article describes a girl with an extra leg attached to her lower back, combined with a spina bifida and a myelomeningocele. Despite lacking sensory or motor functions, the leg grew proportionately with the rest of the body. The bony structures were almost normal. A cross section showed fat tissue with some centrally situated blood vessels, nerve bundles, and muscular fragments. Proximally, an isolated colon loop was found. The extra leg and intestine respected the dorsal fascia, without connection with the peritoneal or retroperitoneal compartments. The finding is discussed with reference to existing hypotheses for limb formation.

Keywords: Foetus in foetu; maldevelopment; neural crest; parasitic twin; teratoma. 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Lende
    • 1
  • W. Wendemu
    • 2
  • S. Mørk
    • 3
  • K. Wester
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Myungsung Christian Medical CentreAddis AbabaEthiopia
  2. 2.CURE INTERNATIONAL and Myungsung Christian Medical CentreAddis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.Department of PathologyThe Gade Institute, Haukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  4. 4.Section for Neurosurgery, Institute of Surgical SciencesUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  5. 5.Department of NeurosurgeryHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway

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