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Health and Medicine

Calcified Fetus Found In Woman After More Than 50 Years

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Morenike Adebayo

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clockAug 8 2015, 17:27 UTC
1630 Calcified Fetus Found In Woman After More Than 50 Years
A calcified fetus (not from Esta Meléndez) removed from a woman after 50 years. Otis Historical Archives of National Museum of Health & Medicine.

Reports in June this year from Chile described a woman who, at 91 years old, found out she had a calcified fetus within her body after going into hospital for an isolated injury.

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Esta Meléndez, the abovementioned woman from La Boca, Chile, discovered this strange entity while in hospital for treatment after falling over. Meléndez spoke to CNN after learning of this stone fetus within her.

"The doctor said I had a tumor and that they needed to operate on me," Meléndez said in the video interview. However, a second X-ray revealed that the mass was not a tumor: It was a calcified fetus.

Calcified fetuses occur when a pregnancy happens outside the womb. While Meléndez's startling find had settled in her uterus, calcified fetuses are often found within the mother’s abdomen. Usually ending with a miscarriage, the fetus can also be reabsorbed back into the mother’s body if small enough or surgically removed if too big.

First written about in the 10th century, this bizarre occurrence is called a lithopedion, or a stone baby.

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For over 50 years, Meléndez lived with this tiny bump within her body. Remarkably, she experiences very little pain and has had no serious health issues because of the stone baby.

In fact, the layer of calcification formed around the fetus protects the mother from its dead tissue, preventing it from becoming a source of infection.

Doctors chose not to remove the calcified fetus, accounting for Meléndez’s age. Because the 1.9-kilogram (4.4-pound) stone matter had formed inside Meléndez’s uterus, she was unfortunately never able to give birth to living children.

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[H/T: Washington Post]


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