Mother shares what life is like for a baby born with two faces
Gilang Andika was born with two faces, two brains, but only one body. His parents are hoping that philanthropists and the government will extend a helping hand and donate funds so that they can afford Gilang's surgery.
A baby has caused much commotion and interest among residents the of Batam. The baby with 2 faces, two brains, but only one head, was born on May 7, 2018.
This unusual little one, named Gilang Andika, is Mustafa and Erlinasari’s son. He was delivered by a Caesarean section at Camatha Sahidya Muka Kuning Hospital.
Initially, the doctor kept the baby’s condition a secret from his parents. But of course it was inevitable they would find out. Even though he only has one body, Erlina and her husband refer to their baby as twins.
“We consider them as our sons. We really love Gilang Andika,” said Mustafa, as quoted from Kompas.
Gilang Andika’s case – where a baby is born with two faces, two brains in one head – is a rare occurance. It is similarly rare to the birth of conjoined twins, whose bodies are fused to one another.
Didi Kusmajardi, the Head of the Health Service in Batam, says that conjoined twins are the result of the incomplete division of the egg cell, which can happen due to viral or chemical exposure. He also adds that nothing can be done to prevent the condition. Conjoined twins whose bodies are fused together need to be separated by surgery.
Conjoined twins happen once in 250,000 live births. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, conjoined twins usually occur when an egg that is supposed to separate stops before the process is complete.
Conjoined twins can be separated by surgery, but the procedure comes with risks. Only one pair among 75% of conjoined twins undergoing surgery has actually survived.
Even though both parents are aware that the procedure to separate their “twins” carries a high risk, the pair still insist on surgery for little Gilang’s sake. However, they cannot afford the costs of the operation.
Due to his unusual condition, Gilang cannot be breastfed. Instead, he can only drink formula milk via a tube. He also experiences respiratory problems. Other than that, his body can still function normally. Presently, little Gilang is still receiving outpatient care at home.
Erlina and Mustafa are both waiting for a clear answer if their child can be operated on. They are also waiting for financial support from philanthropists and the government to help fund the operation need for their baby.
The condition that little Gilang is suffering from is called Craniofacial dupliation, or medically known as Diprosopus. Diprosopus means “two-faced” in Greek.
The condition comes about when identical twins are conjoined and not fully separated. The twins are born with their bodies merged and only one group of limbs, with some parts, or sometimes all of, the face doubled onto the same head.
These babies with 2 faces often don’t survive, as they end up in stillbirth.
Babies with doubled noses are milder forms, whereas doubled faces counts as an extreme presentation of this disease. Babies with 2 faces normally don’t have brains, heart abnormalities and other defects. If the brain does develop, it could have duplicated parts, too.
Craniofacial duplication can be diagnosed in the unborn fetus using:
- ultrasound scans
- computer tomography (CT) scanning
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- and MR angiography.
A red flag for this rare condition is polyhydramnios, which is when there’s an a lot of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac, which isn’t normal.
Currently, doctors haven’t found a way to treat diprosopus due to its rarity. However, sometimes medical professionals recommend to terminate the pregnancy if the condition is diagnosed early.
We hope this article regarding a baby with 2 faces has helped you, parents. This article was translated from Bahasa Indonesia by Kevin Wijaya Oey, with permission from theAsianparent Indonesia.