Doctors save boy born with four legs

india polymelia four legs boy
The boy is the fourth case the hospital has dealt with in a decade (Narayana Health City / Supplied)

Surgeons in India have pulled off a complicated surgery on a baby boy born with four legs.

The boy, who hasn't been named yet, was born on January 21 with a rare congenital birth defect called polymelia which causes the growth of extra limbs - in most cases these are deformed or shrunken.

Doctors at Narayana Health City in Banglaore say the surgery was a complex one.

"These are problems that happen from time to time and [are] irrespective of socio-economic status," Dr Sanjay Rao, a senior consultant paediatric surgeon who performed the operation, said at a news conference.

He explained it was a case of the boy having a parasitic twin. The condition can occur when twins form in utero, but don't fully separate. One of them stops development during gestation and is still joined to the healthy twin.

The procedure took five hours and a team of 20 doctors, nurses and technicians to complete, but there was a lot of work to be done before getting into the operating theatre.

The boy was born with four legs and two penises.

"Because the anatomy is not typical, a lot of work had to be done before the operation to clearly define the anatomy," Dr Rao told CNN.

"There was a lot of pre-operative work to build a road map that would help us during the operation."

Dr Rao says the condition is uncommon and the likelihood of it happening is unknown.

However, there have been a number of documented cases in the past including a girl called Lakshmi who was born with eight limbs in 2005.

Locals considered her the reincarnation of the eight-limbed goddess Lakshmi.

She underwent a complex surgery in 2007.