Adam C. Young, MD
Alan C. League, MD
Albert Knuth, MD
Alejandra Rodriguez-Paez, MD
Alexander E. Michalow, MD
Alexander Gordon, MD
Alexander J. Tauchen, MD
Alexander M. Crespo, MD
Alfonso Bello, MD
Ami Kothari, MD
Amy Jo Ptaszek, MD
Anand Vora, MD
Andrea S. Kramer, MD
Andrew J. Riff, MD
Angela R. Crowley, MD
Angelo Savino, MD
Anthony Savino, MD
Anuj S. Puppala, MD
Ari Kaz, MD
Ashraf H. Darwish, MD
Ashraf Hasan, MD
Bradley Dworsky, MD
Brian Clay, MD
Brian J. Burgess, DPM
Brian R. McCall, MD
Brian Schwartz, MD
Brian Weatherford, MD
Brooke Vanderby, MD
Bruce Summerville, MD
Bryan Waxman, MD
Bryant S. Ho, MD
Carey E. Ellis, MD
Carla Gamez, DPM
Cary R. Templin, MD
Charles L. Lettvin, MD
Charles M. Lieder, DO
Chinyoung Park, MD
Christ Pavlatos, MD
Christian Skjong, MD
Christopher C. Mahr, MD
Christopher J. Bergin, MD
Craig Cummins, MD
Craig Phillips, MD
Craig S. Williams, MD
Craig Westin, MD
Daniel M. Dean, MD
David Beigler, MD
David Guelich, MD
David H. Garelick, MD
David Hamming, MD
David Hoffman, MD
David M. Anderson, MD
David Raab, MD
David Schneider, DO
Djuro Petkovic, MD
Douglas Diekevers, DPM
Douglas Solway, DPM
E. Quinn Regan, MD
Eddie Jones Jr., MD
Edward J. Logue, MD
Ellis K. Nam, MD
Eric Chehab, MD
Eric L. Lee, MD
Evan A. Dougherty, MD
Garo Emerzian, DPM
Gary Shapiro, MD
Giridhar Burra, MD
Gregory Brebach, MD
Gregory J. Fahrenbach, MD
Gregory Portland, MD
Harpreet S. Basran, MD
Holly L. Brockman, MD
Inbar Kirson, MD, FACOG, Diplomate ABOM
Jacob M. Babu, MD, MHA
Jalaal Shah, DO
James M. Hill, MD
James R. Bresch, MD
Jason G. Hurbanek, MD
Jason Ghodasra, MD
Jason J. Shrouder-Henry, MD
Jeffrey Ackerman, MD
Jeffrey Goldstein, MD
Jeffrey Staron, MD
Jeffrey Visotsky, MD
Jeremy Oryhon, MD
Jing Liang, MD
John H. Lyon, MD
Jonathan Erulkar, MD
Jordan L. Goldstein, MD
Josephine H. Mo, MD
Juan Santiago-Palma, MD
Justin Gent, MD
Justin M. LaReau, MD
Kellie Gates, MD
Kermit Muhammad, MD
Kevin Chen, MD
Kris Alden MD, PhD
Leah R. Urbanosky, MD
Leigh-Anne Tu, MD
Leon Benson, MD
Lori Siegel, MD
Lynn Gettleman Chehab, MD, MPH, Diplomate ABOM
Marc Angerame, MD
Marc Breslow, MD
Marc R. Fajardo, MD
Marie Kirincic, MD
Mark Gonzalez, MD
Mark Gross, MD
Mark Hamming, MD
Mark Mikhael, MD
Matthew L. Jimenez, MD
Mehul H. Garala, MD
Michael C. Durkin, MD
Michael Chiu, MD
Michael J. Corcoran, MD
Michael O'Rourke, MD
Nathan G. Wetters, MD
Nikhil K. Chokshi, MD
Paul L. Goodman, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA
Peter Hoepfner, MD
Peter Thadani, MD
Phillip Ludkowski, MD
Priyesh Patel, MD
Rajeev D. Puri, MD
Rhutav Parikh, MD
Richard J. Hayek, MD
Richard Noren, MD
Richard Sherman, MD
Ritesh Shah, MD
Robert J. Thorsness, MD
Roger Chams, MD
Ronak M. Patel, MD
Scott Jacobsen, DPM
Sean A. Sutphen, DO
Serafin DeLeon, MD
Shivani Batra, DO
Stanford Tack, MD
Steven C. Chudik, MD
Steven J. Fineberg, MD
Steven Jasonowicz, DPM
Steven M. Mardjetko, MD
Steven S. Louis, MD
Steven W. Miller, DPM
Surbhi Panchal, MD
T. Andrew Ehmke, DO
Taizoon Baxamusa, MD
Teresa Sosenko, MD
Theodore Fisher, MD
Thomas Gleason, MD
Timothy J. Friedrich, DPM
Todd R. Rimington, MD
Todd Simmons, MD
Tom Antkowiak, MD, MS
Tomas Nemickas, MD
Van Stamos, MD
Vidya Ramanavarapu, MD
Wayne M. Goldstein, MD
Wesley E. Choy, MD
William P. Mosenthal, MD
William Vitello, MD

Baby Girl Born with Four Legs, Two Spines is Thriving, Thanks to Extraordinary Surgical Effort

IBJI spine surgeon Dr. Eric Belin describes the life-changing procedure that’s making headlines

A 10-month-old girl who was born with four legs and two spines is doing remarkably well following a complex surgery that took place on March 8. IBJI’s Eric Belin, M.D., was the orthopedic surgeon on the surgical team assembled to operate on Dominique, an infant born in west Africa with an exceptionally rare condition.

Dominique’s mother had been expecting twins, but one of the babies did not survive the pregnancy. Instead, that twin’s partially developed body attached itself to Dominque in utero, conjoining the two at their spines. The partial development of the “parasitic conjoined twin” resulted in Dominique being born with her twin’s pelvis and legs protruding from her neck and back. “This was a very, very rare case,” explained Dr. Belin, who is an orthopedic spine specialist.

A charitable organization that helps children with exceptional medical needs obtain treatment in the U.S. first brought Dominique’s condition to the attention of doctors in Chicago. Children’s Medical Mission West reached out to John Ruge, M.D., a pediatric neurosurgeon at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge. He then assembled the surgical team for Dominique’s treatment. “Dr. Ruge asked me to serve as the orthopedic spine surgeon on the surgical team of five physicians that included two pediatric neurosurgeons and two pediatric plastic/reconstructive surgeons and myself,” said Dr. Belin.

Dr. Belin agreed to join the team, knowing that there was no precedent for what they were about to do. To prepare for the complex procedure, the surgeons created a 3-D model of Dominique so that they could analyze the way in which the tiny bodies were conjoined and begin to map a surgical plan to remove the parasitic twin.

Critical to the team’s success would be ensuring that Dominique’s spine could develop properly, explained Dr. Belin. “One of the big worries was that there was no bone around Dominique’s two spinal columns, other than the pelvic bone from the parasitic twin that connected the two. We didn’t want to leave her with an unstable spine because that could be devastating. Part of our planning process involved using the 3-D model to figure out just how much bone from the additional pelvis we would need to leave so that we could maintain that stability to her spine. Going into the surgery, our team was hopeful, but we realized how exceedingly challenging this would be.”

There were many risks to removing the parasitic twin, according to Dr. Belin, who has a young son not much older than Dominique. “Our team worked to identify all of those potential dangers so that we could minimize the risks to this little girl. After six hours in surgery, we were thrilled to report that the procedure was an incredible success. Today, Dominque is thriving and we are expecting that she will be able to live a fully functional life.”

Dominique is currently being cared for by a host family in Chicago’s Edgebrook neighborhood. The family reports that Dominique is already sitting up and playing, just two weeks after surgery. She will eventually return home to be reunited with her biological parents in Africa’s Ivory Coast once her recovery is complete.

Dr. Belin is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is dual fellowship-trained in both pediatric and adult spine surgery. He treats a wide range of spinal issues including scoliosis, kyphosis, degenerative deformity, fractures, tumors, cervical degeneration, spondylolysis, disc herniation and low back pain. Dr. Belin practices at IBJI’s Des Plaines and Lincolnwood locations.