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Surgeon Finds Woman's Embryonic Twin in Her Brain

A brain surgeon was operating on a 26-year-old woman to remove what he thought was a brain tumor when he found an extremely rare circumstance: an embryonic twin, or "teratoma," lodged in her brain. The teratoma, complete with hair, teeth and bone, was the mysterious ailment causing Yamini Karanam trouble with reading- and general comprehension.

Karanam was working on a PhD at Indiana University when she noticed the comprehension problems. Frustrated by two doctors whose advice contradicted each other, she found her Los Angeles surgeon, Dr. Hrayr Shahinian, through independent research. Shahinian described his minimally invasive procedure to NBC Los Angeles,

"Unlike traditional brain surgery where you open the skull and use metal retractors and you bring a microscope to see in the depths of the brain, what we're doing is keyhole surgery."

The doctor conducts the surgery using fiber-optic technology with digital imagery. A small incision is made into the brain and an endoscope is inserted, which carefully scrapes away at the tumor.

Read more and see a video on this rare medical find, which Karanam jokingly calls her "evil twin," at NBC Los Angeles.

Via i09 | Screen shot via NBC Los Angeles/Skullbase Institute

A teratoma isn't actually an 'embryonic twin'. It is a strange type of tumor in which stem cells differentiate wildly into different tissue types. It is common for teratomas to contain teeth, hair and other familiar structures.
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