Lithopedion- The Stone Baby

Lithopedion is a very rare medical fact as there are only about three hundred known cases of lithopedia in the world in the past 400 years according to a study. One in 11,000 pregnancies are abdominal, meaning the fetus implanted in the abdomen instead of the uterus. However, only 1.5–1.8% of these abdominal pregnancies result in lithopedia.

The most common scenario for a stone baby, is when a fetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy, being too large to be reabsorbed by the body, it calcifies on the outside as part of a foreign body reaction, protecting the mother’s body from the dead fetus tissue and preventing infection.

Stone babies are becoming much less common thanks to advances in antenatal care. Pregnancies in the abdomen are very risky for moms and their unborn children, and they may end early. In any event, they are frequently watched carefully, and a dead fetus would be removed before it could start to calcify.

A lithopedion from 1943.

There are still current examples, they are usually the outcome of pregnancies from decades ago. A 92-year-old woman who had lived with this ailment for 60 years was recently cured by doctors, as was a 70-year-old woman who had carried a lithopedion for 35 years.

The Sens lithopedion, which was the most well-known, eventually vanished. The surgeon who extracted it later sold the specimen to a businessman, after which it was handled by a goldsmith and a diamond dealer before being purchased in 1653 by King Frederick III of Denmark. The lithopedion weakened over the ensuing decades and lost both a jaw and an arm.

From 14 weeks of pregnancy through full term, lithopedia is possible. The diagnosis of a stone baby frequently occurs when the patient is checked for other diseases that call for an X-ray examination. It is not uncommon for a stone baby to go misdiagnosed for decades and to be discovered well after natural menopause. The average age of women with lithopedia at the time of diagnosis was fifty-five years old, with the oldest patient being one hundred years old, according to T.S.P. Tien’s analysis of 128 instances. The lithopedion was carried for twenty-two years on average, and in a few instances, the ladies got pregnant again and delivered their second kid without any problems. Nine of the cases examined had lithopedia for more than 50 years prior to diagnosis.

In stone baby formation, the baby forms outside of the womb as seen above

One of the most recent case of stone baby is the case of Adan, a 31-year-old Ethiopian woman who in 2007 tried to get medical help for abdominal discomfort a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan revealed that she had lithopedion. The hospital’s medical staff successfully performed an operation on her to remove the male stone baby. She had carried it for 13 years.

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