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2-Week-Old Conjoined Twins Separated After Successful Surgery

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Mumbai conjoined twins: Newborn twins, who were conjoined at their abdomen, were separated after a successful six-hour-long surgery at Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children on January 3.

The babies will be discharged this week.

The mother of the twins, who requested anonymity, reportedly stated that she got to know about the conjoined embryos during antenatal ultrasound scan when she was pregnant. Since then, her family started looking for options to surgically separate the babies after delivery. 

On December 21, the twins — both girls — were born as omphalopagus twins. These twins are joined by belly-button. Furthermore, they rarely occur one out of 50,000 births and have low survival rates. The babies were born facing each other conjoined at abdomen, with their liver, lower chest bone and abdominal cavities fused together. Nevertheless, an expert team of paediatric surgeons, neonatologists, cardiac surgeons and doctors of other expertise planned the surgery to surgically separate the newborns beforehand.

Dr. Pradnya Bendre, professor and head of paediatrics surgery at the hospital said that the babies had to undergo extensive investigations as the team needed to understand the anatomy and complexity of the high-risk surgery. 

“Conjoined twins are seen in 1 in 50000 to 1 in 200000 of all live births and less than 300 successful surgical separations have been done in the past. Omphalopagus twins comprise 10 per cent to 18 per cent of all conjoined twins,” said Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO of Bai Jerbai Wadia hospital.

The Examination

During the examinations, the doctors found out the following:

  • One of the two babies was pale while another’s skin was pinker due to differential blood circulation.
  • A major vessel was unable to fully supply blood to one of the babies.
  • One of the two babies also posed a risk of cardiac failure. 

After conducting the examination, Dr. Bendre concluded that delaying the surgery till babies grow up would make the surgery easier for surgeons.  However, it would be far difficult for parents to look after them as well as for the children to live that way.

The Surgery

The two newborns underwent the complex surgery for the separation fourteen days after their birth, Advanced technology of cutting liver using a harmonic scalpel was used to minimize blood loss. Fortunately, the surgery was successful.

The newborns are over a month old now. They recovered well after spending two days on a ventilator. Moreover, they started being fed after the third day of the surgery.