THE SEP­A­RA­TION OF CON­JOINED TWINS

Fiji Sun - - Sun Spectrum -

The sur­gi­cal sep­a­ra­tion of con­joined twins is a del­i­cate and risky pro­ce­dure, re­quir­ing ex­treme pre­ci­sion and care.

There­fore, the de­ci­sion to sep­a­rate twins is a se­ri­ous one.

Mor­tal­ity rates for twins who un­dergo sep­a­ra­tion vary, de­pend­ing on their type of con­nec­tion, and the or­gans they share. In cases of twins where the pump­ing cham­bers of their hearts are con­joined hearts, there are no known sur­vivors.

Although suc­cess rates have im­proved over the years, sur­gi­cal sep­a­ra­tion is still rare.

Since 1950, at least one twin has sur­vived sep­a­ra­tion about 75 per cent of the time.

It is only af­ter twins are born that doc­tors can use mag­netic res­o­nance imag­ing, ul­tra­sound and an­giog­ra­phy to find out what or­gans the twins share. In or­der to de­ter­mine the fea­si­bil­ity of sep­a­ra­tion, doc­tors must care­fully as­sess how the twins’ shared or­gans function.

Af­ter sep­a­ra­tion, most twins need in­ten­sive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion be­cause of the mal­for­ma­tion and po­si­tion of their spines.

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