People Are Just Realising What 'Stone Babies' Are, And We're Shocked

The condition is usually asymptomatic.
TikTok / 0ddlyt3rr1fy1ng / dr.karanr

In a recent TikTok, Dr. Karan Raj ― who’s known for spreading his medical wisdom on the app ― Stitched a video about a “stone baby.”

The initial video showed an X-ray of a woman with a calcified foetus in her abdomen.

“Patient went for a bladder stone, turns out it’s a calcified baby she never birthed,” the Stitched video said.

I wan honestly expecting the doctor’s following video to be a debunking ― so I was shocked to hear him say “This is a stone baby, also known as a lithopedion.”

How does that happen?

The doctor explains that the extremely rare lithopedions come from ectopic pregnancies ― those in which the foetus starts to develop somewhere outside of the womb.

The foetus can begin to grow anywhere from the liver to the abdomen, Dr. Raj said – but lithopedions come from abdominal ectopic pregnancies.

“Usually, an abdominal ectopic pregnancy would be reabsorbed by the mother’s body” once the embryo had died, he shared.

“But if it’s too large, it becomes a foreign body to the immune system ― and now to stop this dead, foetal tissue causing a widespread infection to the body, the mother’s immune system will calcify and encapsulate the foetus.”

What then?

The foreign body reaction builds, Dr. Raj says, “and the foetus is gradually mummified to become a ‘stone baby’.”

The “stone baby” often does not cause symptoms and may go unnoticed for years.

The condition is more likely to happen in places with little to no access to healthcare, the doctor adds, and isn’t usually noticed until the patient comes in for a different medical issue.

For this reason, it’s usually picked up in older women, he says.

“And in these cases, the risks of major abdominal surgery to remove the stone baby outweigh the risks of leaving the stone baby in its place.”

In fact, a scientist who looked into the subject in the ’30s found that patients ranged in age “from thirty to one hundred years.”

Thankfully the condition is extremely rare, however.


Stone babies! @oddly terrifying images

♬ original sound - Dr Karan Raj

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