Bangladesh con­ducts first suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion to sep­a­rate con­joined twins

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Dhaka, Bangladesh - Ten­month-old Bangladeshi si­amese twins were re­cov­er­ing in hos­pi­tal on Wed­nes­day af­ter what sur­geons hailed as the coun­try’s ‘ground­break­ing’ first suc­cess­ful sep­a­ra­tion op­er­a­tion on con­joined sib­lings.

Sis­ters Tofa and Tahura, who were born con­joined at the spine and rec­tum, un­der­went a gru­elling nine hours in surgery un­der the care of two dozen doc­tors.

“It is the first time we have suc­cess­fully sep­a­rated crit­i­cally con­joined twins in Bangladesh,” pae­di­atric sur­geon Ab­dul Hanif of Dhaka Med­i­cal Col­lege Hos­pi­tal told AFP. “It’s a ground­break­ing op­er­a­tion in our med­i­cal his­tory,” Hanif said, adding that it had been ‘ex­tremely com­plex’.

Al­most all Bangladeshi con­joined twins fail to sur­vive their in­fant years, the sur­geon said.

Last year, twin boys, who were joined at the torso and had been aban­doned by their par­ents at the same hos­pi­tal, died due to se­vere in­fec­tions and com­pli­ca­tions.

Tofa and Tahura will need at least two fur­ther op­er­a­tions to re­struc­ture their in­ter­nal or­gans, Hanif added.

The surgery had been ‘100 per cent suc­cess­ful’ but the twins would re­main in in­ten­sive care for at least a week to en­sure no in­fec­tions de­vel­oped, said surgery co­or­di­na­tor Shah­noor Is­lam.

Born to poor farm­ers, the sis­ters - who do not use a sur­name - were brought to Dhaka a month ago from north­ern Gaibandha district, 260km from the cap­i­tal.

Their mother, Shahida Begum, told AFP how happy she was as the doc­tors had let her breast­feed the girls fol­low­ing the surgery. “I held my daugh­ters to feed them. They were re­spond­ing very spon­ta­neously,” the mother of three said.

“My five year old son is very ex­cited know­ing he might now be able to play with his sis­ters. He cried to go in­side the in­ten­sive care unit to see them but the doc­tors won't al­low him,” she said, adding that there are still fears of in­fec­tions.

The sur­geons said the next few days would be crit­i­cal for the twins as the sur­gi­cal wounds need to heal and the ba­bies need more pro­ce­dures to be able to live in­de­pen­dently.

Their par­ents al­most gave up hope of sep­a­rat­ing the twins af­ter lo­cal doc­tors told them there were no ex­perts in Bangladesh who could do it and surgery in other coun­tries would cost too much.

“We went to lo­cal clin­ics but no­body could pro­vide any so­lu­tion. We went to the district civil sur­geon who ad­vised us to go to Dhaka. He paid for the trip and even rented an am­bu­lance for us,” Begum said.

The hos­pi­tal paid the cost of the op­er­a­tion.

An­other pair of Bangladeshi twins joined at the skull are await­ing their turn in Dhaka.

Doc­tors are con­sult­ing ex­perts from across the globe as they pre­pare for the next op­er­a­tion.


Pre­vi­ously-con­joined twins Tofa and Tahura are treated af­ter surgery at the Dhaka Med­i­cal Col­lege Hos­pi­tal, in Dhaka on Wed­nes­day

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