Doctors at the Mandera County and Referral hospital have successfully conducted the first ever lithopaedion operation in East and central Africa.
The team of 15 experts performed the delicate operation on 31-year-old Hawa Adan, who had a case of intra-abdominal calcification, and had lived with the condition for the last 13 years.
Hawa had been to many hospitals in her home country of Ethiopia without getting proper diagnosis. The journey towards the ground-breaking procedure started when she crossed into Kenya in September and surgeons at the Mandera referral hospital discovered the cause of her swollen abdomen and scheduled the operation.
The Tuesday’s operation was not only successful but historic. Hawa’s condition was intensively investigated and a CT scan showed that she had lithopaedion, a rare condition that is characterized by an intra-abdominal calcified dead fetus.
It occurs when a fertilised egg grows in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. The Fallopian tube can only allow the foetus to grow to a certain limit beyond which it will either rupture and be discharged to the abdominal cavity.
In most cases, the foetus dies due to the harsh extra-uterine environment but few develop into maturity.
In Hawa’s case, the foetus developed in the abdominal cavity to approximately past 30 weeks at which point it was lost. She was operated on with doctors managing to successfully remove the stone baby complete with the placenta and a cord weighing 1.75kg.
Mandera chief executive officer in charge of health Dr. Mohamed Eda lauded the efforts of the surgical team saying the Mandera county government remains committed to improving health services within the region.
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