A baby girl born with two mouths, a rare condition known as diprosopus, has recovered after surgery.
Diprosopus, or duplication of craniofacial structures is extremely rare, with only around 35 reported cases since 1900. Duplication of specific structures, such as the ears, nose or eyes is possible.
The baby girl was born with an "accessory" mouth. Photo: BMJ Case reports
Doctors shared the little girl's story in BMJ Case Reports, noting that it was during a third-trimester scan that they first detected something was wrong.
Initially, doctors thought the mass on the baby's face might have been a cyst or a teratoma, (when one twin absorbs another.) It wasn't until she was born that they could observe the second mouth, which had its own lip, cavity, "un-erupted teeth" and tongue.
The "accessory tongue" was noted "to move in synchronisation with the oral tongue when the infant was feeding."
Three-dimensional CT reconstruction taken at two weeks of age. Photo: BMJ Case reports
Bub was otherwise healthy, and, at two weeks old was feeding well, gaining weight and had no respiratory difficulties.
At six months old, doctors successfully removed the second mouth, including six benign molar teeth.
The little girl photographed after surgery. Photo: BMJ Case reports
"Duplication of craniofacial structures typically occurs as part of a syndrome and is often associated with cleft lip and cleft palate, Klippel-Feil syndrome and Pierre Robin sequence," the authors write in their paper. "Our patient's craniofacial duplication is a rare case that presented as an isolated anomaly, with no associated syndromes or abnormalities."
Apart from some swelling post-surgery, the little girl healed well and at 12 months old was feeding without difficulty.
According to the authors, although the condition is more common in females, they've yet to determine why. They also note that while the condition is rare it's important to consider all possible diagnoses for any unusual masses seen in babies on the face or jawbone.
"There is a risk that these structures could communicate with the oral cavity and involve the airway, placing patients at risk of airway and/or feeding compromise," they write.