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Craniopagus parasiticus

Craniopagus parasiticus is a medical condition in which a parasitic twin head with an undeveloped (or underdeveloped) body is attached to the head of a developed twin.

Additional recommended knowledge

There have only been eight documented cases of this phenomenon, though to-date there have been at least eighty separate cases of this phenomenon written about in various records [1]. Only three ever have been documented by modern medicine to have survived birth.

  • On December 10, 2003, Rebeca Martínez was born in the Dominican Republic with this rare condition. She was the first baby born with the condition to undergo an operation to remove the second head. She died on February 7, 2004, after an 11-hour operation.
  • On February 19, 2005, 10 month old Manar Maged underwent a successful 13-hour surgery in Egypt, but she died March 25, 2006 [2]. Manar had been featured on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show and in the British documentary series BodyShock.
  • An earlier case was the so-called "Two-Headed Boy of Bengal," who was born in 1783 and died of a cobra bite in 1787. His skull remains in the collection of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of London [3].


Prognosis for craniopagus parasiticus is generally poor. As of 2007, only three cases are known to have survived childbirth. Everard Home described the first and longest-lived of these, the "Two-Headed Boy of Bengal", who survived until bitten by a cobra in 1787, at the age of four.[1] More recent cases have attracted considerable media attention[2][3] as well as efforts to correct the condition through surgery. An infant girl in the Dominican Republic died in 2004 from complications in surgery.[4] Egyptian doctors, having studied evidence of that operation, successfully removed the parasitic twin from an infant, named Manar Maged, in 2005;[5] however, she succumbed to an infection the following year.[6] The twin removed in this case could smile, blink, cry, and tried to suckle [7] but never developed a body (except a small remnant), or lungs and heart, and instead was dependent on oxygen and nutrients provided by Manar. The case illustrates that there is a continuum from craniopagus parasiticus to the phenomenon of the conjoined twin.


  • Aquino DB, Timmons C, Burns D, Lowichik A (1997). "Craniopagus parasiticus: a case illustrating its relationship to craniopagus conjoined twinning". Pediatr Pathol Lab Med 17 (6): 939-44. PMID 9353833.
  • Bondeson J, Allen E (1991). "Everard Home's famous two-headed boy of Bengal and some other cases of craniopagus parasiticus". Surg Neurol 35 (6): 483. PMID 2053064.
  • Nair KR (1990). "Craniopagus parasiticus". Surg Neurol 33 (2): 159. PMID 2406987.
  • Bondeson J, Allen E (1989). "Craniopagus parasiticus. Everard Home's Two-Headed Boy of Bengal and some other cases". Surg Neurol 31 (6): 426-34. PMID 2655135.
  • Wang DM, Zhang PL (1985). "[A case report of craniopagus parasiticus (clinical features and the histological study of the accessory brain)]". Zhonghua Zheng Xing Shao Shang Wai Ke Za Zhi 1 (1): 31-3. PMID 3939788.
  • Wang TM, Li BQ, Li-Che, Fu CL (1982). "Craniopagus parasiticus: a case report of a parasitic head protruding from the right side of the face". Br J Plast Surg 35 (3): 304-11. PMID 7150854.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Craniopagus_parasiticus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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