When 26-year-old PhD student Yamini Karanam from Indiana had chronic headaches that escalated into difficulties keeping up with daily tasks, she went to see her doctor. She was soon informed she had a tumor in her brain that could thankfully be removed.
But upon further inspection, they soon realized that it was not a tumor that was growing inside her. It was a human.
When 26-year-old student Yamini Karanam suddenly began to have difficulty concentrating and experienced headaches at school, she was worried. The situation worsened and soon, it was difficult to keep up with everyday conversations. Her pain eventually became so severe that the most mundane tasks became difficult. Climbing out of bed was hard, and walking was even more challenging.
"[I had] problems with reading comprehension, listening comprehension. If a couple people were talking in a room, I wouldn't understand what was happening," Karanam told NBC Los Angeles.
After a visit to her doctor, it was suspected that Yamini had a brain tumor. Fearing that the tumor was cancerous, they recommended she operate.
But when surgeons at the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles, USA, began more carefully examining Yamini's growth, they discovered that it wasn't cancer at all that was growing in her head. It was her twin.
The cause of Yamini's severe pain was in fact a rare medical condition called teratoma, a so-called twin cyst. For Yamini, it felt like something outside a science fiction film - the cyst was complete with bone, hair and teeth.
Yamini's case was so unusual that the experienced surgeon had only operated on a similar case once before.
"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 surgeon told NBC Los Angeles.
The cyst was successfully removed, and Yamini can now lightheartedly call the tumor her "evil twin sister who's been torturing me for the past 26 years."
I never cease to be amazed at what doctors can do.
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