11 surgeons separate conjoined twins in nine hours

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A team of 11 surgeons at Apollo Hospitals have successfully separated Siamese twin girls after a nine-hour operation.

Jimmy Mtemi and Carolina Zakaria, hailing from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, their daughters Abriana and Adriana, who are now 11 months old, were born conjoined. Their condition is called ‘thoraco omphalopagus’, where the chest and the abdomen are fused.

It took a team of 11 surgeons from Apollo Hospitals to successfully separate the conjoint twins after a nine-hour operation with minimal blood loss. The babies also shared a common heart line and diaphragm. More than 50 professional doctors including pediatricians, urologists and plastic surgeons planned for the operation.

Adriana and Abriana beat incredible odds to survive this rare procedure, which involved separation of the pericardium (heart lining), diaphragm and the connected livers. Conjoined births are rare, one in fifty thousand to one in 100,000. However, more than 35 per cent die after birth.

Another important aspect of the surgery was the careful closure of the huge defect created by the separation. "After the separation, Adriana's heart had to be covered with bovine pericardium and carefully closed with skin and soft tissue. The liver, which was abnormally large, could not be fully reduced in both babies. It took almost four hours and two teams to provide cover for the heart, liver and intestine," added Dr. K.S. Sivakumar, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Apollo Children's Hospital, under whom the twins were admitted.

Speaking about the operation, the father of the twins, Jimmy Mtemi said, “We were really thrilled and excited to take back our two separate babies, back home. The operation was very successful and affordable, and we are really thankful to the doctors who performed this operation and all the staff in the hospital who were very supportive to us”.

 

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