Re­lief af­ter suc­cess­ful surgery to split twins

The West Australian - - NEWS - Grant McArthur

When sur­geons fi­nally got the an­swer to the ques­tion they have long asked — and feared — a sense of re­lief swept over Royal Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal’s The­atre 6.

Since first set­ting eyes on a set of rudi­men­tary scans from Bhutan, Royal Chil­dren’s spe­cial­ists have won­dered ex­actly what was go­ing on in­side Nima and Dawa Pelden’s con­joined bod­ies.

Af­ter a year-long ef­fort to save the 15-month-old sis­ters, the mas­sive team got the per­fect an­swer.

“Our great­est chal­lenge, we al­ways knew, was what are we go­ing to find when we first went into the ab­domen,” head of pae­di­atric surgery Joe Crameri said.

“Once we re­alised that we had the abil­ity to di­vide the liver with­out com­pro­mis­ing the girls, and ul­ti­mately that we did not have to do any­thing fancy with the bowel, that was cer­tainly a sense of re­lief for us.

“All the hard work and ef­forts over the past weeks re­ally paid div­i­dends to­day.

“We saw two young girls who were very ready for this surgery, who were able to cope with the surgery, and are re­cov­er­ing and do­ing very well.

“I see it as a sense of re­lief, we al­ways felt con­fi­dent we could achieve this.”

From the mo­ment yes­ter­day’s op­er­a­tion be­gan, Nima and Dawa be­gan act­ing like in­de­pen­dent girls, with one suc­cumb­ing to anaes­thetic quickly, the other tak­ing more than two hours. When surgery did be­gin the team — which swelled to 25 dur­ing parts of the six-hour op­er­a­tion — were over­joyed to find there was no sig­nif­i­cant bowel at­tach­ment re­quir­ing ex­ten­sive surgery, but rather just over­lap­ping or tan­gled or­gans.

As Tom Clar­nette led ef­forts to sep­a­rate the twins’ shared liver he found some is­sues were a lit­tle more sig­nif­i­cant than ex­pected. But there was more re­lief when both had the nec­es­sary “plumb­ing” and there was no bleed­ing is­sues.

“We were never cer­tain of ex­actly what we were go­ing to find, but we were pleas­antly sur­prised we didn’t get any un­ex­pected curve balls,” Dr Clar­nette said.

Then, just be­fore 12.45pm, the girls were of­fi­cially sep­a­rated and sta­ble. Pic­tures: News Corp, AP

Bh­muchu Zangmo says a teary good­bye be­fore her twins are taken into surgery.

Dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

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