Sur­geon hails twins suc­cess

Six-hour op sep­a­rates Nima and Dawa

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT - SALLY WAR­DLE

LIFE-CHANG­ING surgery to sep­a­rate con­joined Bhutanese twins Nima and Dawa in Mel­bourne has been suc­cess­ful.

A team of med­i­cal ex­perts emerged from the­atre yes­ter­day af­ter­noon af­ter the six­hour pro­ce­dure, proudly declar­ing that the 15-mon­thold girls, who were joined at the torso and shared a liver, had been sep­a­rated.

The sis­ters are in re­cov­ery and breath­ing in­de­pen­dently fol­low­ing the op­er­a­tion which in­volved a team of up to 25 sur­geons, nurses and anaes­thetists.

Head of pae­di­atric surgery Dr Joe Crameri, who led the op­er­a­tion, said there had been no sur­prises, de­spite fears the girls’ bowel may have been shared.

“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 said.

“And re­ally the main chal­lenge to­day, as we thought, was get­ting the ab­domen re­con­structed so that both areas were closed over.”

Sur­geons were also able to di­vide the liver with­out com­pro­mis­ing the girls, and are hope­ful they will not have to spend time in ICU.

“There will be chal­lenges over the next 24 to 48 hours as with any surgery,” Dr Crameri said.

“We feel qui­etly con­fi­dent that we will have a good re­sult and that is what I have just told mum up­stairs.”

The sis­ters were brought to Aus­tralia with their mother Bhum­chu Zangmo last month and have been stay­ing at the Chil­dren First Foun­da­tion re­treat in Kil­more.

Ms Zangmo was said to be “very re­lieved” by the re­sult of the surgery. The op­er­a­tion had pre­vi­ously been post­poned af­ter last-minute checks re­vealed the sis­ters were not ready.

The pro­ce­dure and re­cov­ery are ex­pected to cost at least $350,000 and the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment has of­fered to pay the bill.

Other funds raised will go to­wards the twins’ re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­turn home. AAP

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