Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Surgeons in Australia successfully separate conjoined twins from Bhutan

Surgeons in Australia successfully separate conjoined twins from Bhutan

Surgeons in Australia have separated conjoined twins from Bhutan in a life-changing operation.

The 15-month-old girls, Nima and Dawa, were doing well after the surgery that lasted nearly six hours, said Joe Crameri, the head of pediatric surgery at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.

It is expected the girls will spend about a month in hospital following the surgery and Sherub previously told The Age that they may take time to catch up with some of their milestones.

Doctors said they were confident the twins were now ready for the operation.

Head of paediatric surgery Dr Joe Crameri, who is leading the delicate procedure, is due to provide details of the surgery this morning.

Conjoined twins occur once every 200,000 live births, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Only a few separations are carried out around the world each year.

"The success of surgery depends on where the twins are joined and how many and which organs are shared, as well as the experience and skill of the surgical team". They can stand if they do so at the same time.

"We were very fortunate in that there wasn't any significant bowel attachment and while it was all swimming next to one another it wasn't actually connected in any major way", Dr Crameri told reporters. It is also possible they share a bowel.

Crameri said one of the risks was the use of anaesthetic, as they did not know how one twin would react to the other receiving it.

The girls and their mother spent the past month at a retreat outside Melbourne run by the Children First Foundation, which raised money to bring the family to Australia for the surgery.

"Mom said the girls are getting a little bit frustrated with each other, as you would at 14 months", the charity's CEO Elizabeth Lodge said last month. Although confident of the positive surgery outcome, she said she was anxious.

The surgery and recovery are estimated to cost at least $350,000.

Doctors at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne had hoped the procedure would be straightforward, but said it would be impossible to know until the procedure began.

Bhutan is a poor Himalayan kingdom where doctors did not have the expertise to separate the girls, who were joined from the chest to the waist.

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