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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 December 2007, 12:46 GMT
Limb operation girl can go home
Lakshmi Tatma with her father
Lakshmi will need more surgery but is now able to go home
An Indian girl born with four arms and four legs is ready to leave hospital after recovering from surgery.

Lakshmi Tatma, aged two, was born with the limbs of a headless conjoined twin attached to her pelvis.

Last month, a team of surgeons in the city of Bangalore operated on Lakshmi for 27 hours to separate her spinal column and kidney from her twin's.

Her extra pairs of arms and legs were also removed, and she has spent more than a month recovering in hospital.

Now doctors say she is well enough to return home, although she will need further surgery in the years to come.

"She is going home and she is good enough to be going home," said Sharan Patil, the surgeon in charge of the operation, adding that there had been no complications after the initial surgery.

"Lakshmi is normal, eating well and in good spirits", he said.

"She has responded well to the post-operation treatment."

Goddess of wealth

Doctors hope the procedure will allow Lakshmi to survive beyond adolescence.

x-ray of Lakshmi
1. Spine cut from the front to remove extra limbs
2. Wide gap between pelvic bones closed using bone grafts
3. More operations may be needed to correct club feet and rebuild pelvic floor muscles

Lakshmi's parents are poor labourers from the northern Indian state of Bihar.

The child had been hailed by some in her village as the reincarnation of the multi-limbed Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.

Conjoined twins are rare, occurring in about one in every 200,000 births.

They originate from a single fertilised egg, so they are always identical and of the same sex.

The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5% and 25%.

Historical records over the past 500 years detail about 600 surviving sets of conjoined twins - more than 70% of which have been female twins.

Lakshmi Tatma before and after the operation

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