A two-year-old Indian girl born with four arms and four legs was recovering today from the first of a series of operations doctors hope will leave her with a normal body.
Lakshmi, named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth, suffers from the rare condition ischiopagus.
She is joined to a "parasitic twin" who stopped developing in the mother's womb, while the surviving foetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped foetus.
The complications for Lakshmi's surgery are myriad: the two spines are merged, she has four kidneys, entangled nerves, two stomach cavities and two chest cavities. She cannot stand up or walk.
Doctors in Mangalore are working to remove the extra limbs and organs so she will have a normal body at the end of the operation.
A team of neurosurgeons has separated the fused spines and the next step will be to separate the extra limbs, then the rest of the "parasite," said Dr Sharan Patil, the orthopaedic surgeon heading the operation.
"As of now the child has been responding very well," he said.