A PhD student who underwent brain surgery for the removal of a suspected tumour was shocked to find the growth was actually her embryonic twin.
Yamini Karanam, 26, sought medical help when she was unable to comprehend more than one person speaking at once.
Initial examinations pointed to a tumour but upon surgery her doctor found something he had only encountered twice in his lifetime – a teratoma – or embryonic twin.
A red light shows the growth in Yamini Karanam's brain, initially believed to be a tumour
In Yamini’s case, the teratoma was complete with hair, bone and teeth, causing her to brand it her “evil twin.”
Laughing, she told NBC Los Angeles: “It’s been torturing me! For the past 26 years can you believe it!”
Her surgeon, Dr Hrayr Shahinian of the Skullbase Institute in Los Angeles, pointed out: “But she was not evil! She was benign.”
Yamini is expected to recover completely within in a month, thanks to the non-invasive procedure carried out by Dr Shahinian.
Yamini now laughingly refers to the growth as her 'evil twin'
He explained to the channel: “Unlike traditional brain surgery where you’re opening the skull and you’re putting metal detractors and you’re bringing a microscope to see in the depths of the brain, what we’re doing is keyhole surgery.”
While uncommon, parasitic twins are not unheard of. In 2009 The Telegraph reported a 30-year-old plumber stunned doctors when his abdomen suddenly ruptured, causing the remains of his embryonic twin to spill out.
Gavin Hyatt recovered from the incident and now keeps the remains of his twin in a jar, telling the newspaper: “I call him Little Gav.”