Lithopedion

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A lithopedion. This highly unusual specimen remained in the abdomen of a woman for 55 years. During this time the mother had five additional uncomplicated pregnancies.

A lithopedion (Ancient Greek: λίθος = stone; Ancient Greek: παιδός = child), or stone baby, is a rare phenomenon which occurs most commonly when a fetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy,[1] is too large to be reabsorbed by the body, and calcifies on the outside, shielding the mother's body from the dead tissue of the baby and preventing infection. Lithopedia may occur from 14 weeks gestation to full term. It is not unusual for a stone baby to remain undiagnosed for decades, and it is often not until a patient is examined for other conditions or a proper examination is conducted that includes an X-ray, that a stone baby is found. The oldest reported case is that of a 94-year old woman,[2] whose lithopedion has been present for upwards of 60 years.

The condition was first described in a treatise by the physician Albucasis in the 10th century AD, but fewer than 300 cases have been noted in 400 years of medical literature. The earliest lithopedion is one found in an archaeological excavation, dated to 1100 BC.

According to one report there are only 300 reported cases of stone baby in the world. In February 2011, doctors in Andhra Pradesh, India removed a 35-year-old stone baby from a woman.[3]

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Notes

  1. ^ Perper, J.A. (2006): Chapter III: Time of Death and Changes after Death. Part 1: Anatomical Considerations. In: Spitz, W.U. & Spitz, D.J. (eds): Spitz and Fisher’s Medicolegal Investigation of Death. Guideline for the Application of Pathology to Crime Investigations (Fourth edition), Charles C. Thomas, pp.: 87-127; Springfield, Illinois.
  2. ^ "lithopedion@Everything2.com". Everything2.com. http://everything2.com/e2node/lithopedion. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  3. ^ "35 year old ‘stone baby’ removed from 70 year old woman’s womb". Siasat.com. http://www.siasat.com/english/news/35-yr-old-%E2%80%98stone-baby%E2%80%99-removed-70-yr-old-woman%E2%80%99s-womb. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  4. ^ TV.com Summary

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