18 surgeons successfully separated a pair of conjoined twins in six hours

A pair of Bhutanese conjoined twins have been successfully separated after a marathon surgery involving 18 doctors.

15-month-old Nima and Dawa are happy and healthy after their roughly six-hour surgery today at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, according to the SMH.

It’s an ideal outcome, but the difficulty with the surgery lay in not knowing exactly how many vital body parts the twins shared before the first incision was made. It was thought that they shared a liver.

“I think the best part of the surgery was that there were no highs and no lows,” Dr Joe Cameri, head of paediatric surgery at the hospital, said this afternoon at a press conference.

He’d previously said that the medical team were prepared for the surgery to take days, but that he realistically envisioned it would take around six to eight hours.

“In this situation, we have two twins which are largely separate in the way they function, but like all conjoined twins they just have a small area, in this case more towards to abdomen rather than the head which is connected and we’re hoping that will be a less complex interdivide,” Dr Cameri told Radio 3AW in October.

To avoid confusing the twins, one side of the operating theatre was labeled green for Nima, and the other side red for Dawa.

There was a two-metre exclusion zone for all personnel in between their beds bar four key surgeons.

Their mother Bhumchu Zangmo was understandably nervous before the operation, but spent today praying and meditating at a Buddhist temple.

Bhutanese paediatric surgeon Dr Karma Sherub first campaigned to bring the twins to Australia with months of negotiation and fundraising by the Children First Foundation.

The surgery and recovery are estimated to cost at least $350,000. The Victorian state government pledged to cover surgical costs, with other funds raised to go towards the girls’ Australian rehabilitation and return home to Bhutan.

The SMH has more here.

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