A two-year-old Indian girl born with four arms and four legs left hospital Saturday, more than a month after a marathon operation to remove her extra limbs, doctors said.
Lakshmi left Sparsh Hospital in the southern city of Bangalore with her parents and older brother after doctors said she had recovered from the 27-hour operation to separate her from her headless, conjoined twin.
But she will return to hospital in March for doctors to assess whether she will need reconstructive surgery, said Sharan Patil, who headed the surgical team for the operation last month.
'She's doing well now and her parents are quite keen to take the baby home,' Patil told reporters.
'We have to respect their wishes,' he said. 'I also feel further surgical steps are not of great urgency and I'm not in a hurry to perform them.'
Lakshmi, named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth, was born fused to the pelvis of a twin that had stopped developing in her mother's womb -- a condition that occurs once in 50,000 conjoined twin births.
Her parents, labourers from a remote area of poverty-stricken Bihar state, took her to Bangalore after a New Delhi hospital refused to operate, saying surgery would be too complex and costly.
The operation in Bangalore, which cost 2.4 million rupees (60,000 dollars), was performed free at the private hospital.
The child looked bright and cheerful, holding candy in her hand, as her father carried her to the hospital foyer for a brief photo session against the backdrop of an idol of Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god of good luck.
The operation, in which surgeons separated her from the organs and body parts of her sibling, was the first of its kind to be performed in India.
Following the operation, doctors fitted her legs with splints after removing plaster casts. The hospital said she had also undergone physiotherapy to strengthen her legs.
'As of today, all her parameters are fine and all her organs are functioning well,' said Patil. 'Physically, there are definitely a few things that require attention -- her feet are turned in, for example.
'There's a lot of tissue shrinkage that's going to take place but medically all other issues have settled down.'
Any further operations will not be 'in any manner comparable to what she has been through', said Patil.
Medically, she is as well as any other child of her age 'and I have no reason to believe she will not be a normal adult', he added.
'We hope and pray it will be that way.'
Lakshmi's father, Shambhu Tatma, said the family would travel first to Jodhpur, a city in the desert state of Rajasthan, where a charity that brought them to Bangalore is based. Then they would likely head home.
He told reporters he planned to build a small temple in his village to Lakshmi the goddess.
The girl's operation gripped India and received saturation media coverage.
'It's been a long journey for all of us... It had its moments of worry, its moments of joy and moments of tremendous pressure,' said surgeon Yohannan John, part of the surgical team.
'Now that she has done well, we're happy for her and her family,' he said.