The Star Late Edition

Joy for mother as conjoined twins successful­ly separated

- NOMALANGA TSHUMA nomalanga.tshuma@inl.co.za

AN A-Team of surgeons from the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) have successful­ly performed an operation to separate a set of conjoined twins from the Eastern Cape.

The multidisci­plinary team, involving a full set for each twin, performed the craniopagu­s surgery.

The hospital’s head of paediatric neurosurge­ry, Tony Figaji, said craniopagu­s twinning is rare, especially in South Africa, and comes along once every 20 years.

He said: “It’s the rarest form of conjoined twinning. Craniopagu­s twins occur approximat­ely once in every 2.5 million live births worldwide. We were fortunate in this case that the connection did not involve any shared brain tissue and didn’t involve major blood vessels going from one twin to the other.”

Red Cross head of plastic surgery Saleigh Adams said while the teams were prepared for a marathon surgery, the surgery only lasted one-and-a-half hours.

The 31-year-old mother of the twins, Ntombikayi­se Tyhalisi, said she still cannot believe that she is now able to hold her two daughters, Siphosethu and Amahle, in her arms.

She said: “I am overjoyed! I wasn’t expecting to leave here holding my children one in each arm.

“When they were born I was very happy even though I had only been expecting one baby at the time.

“Although it was exciting to find out about baby Amahle who came after her sister, it was hard to come

to terms with the fact that they were conjoined at the head.

“Now that the twins have been separated I am so happy, things will be so much easier for me now.

“I am grateful to the nurses who helped me throughout the process and the doctors who worked so hard to make my baby’s lives easier,” said Tyhalisi.

Red Cross Hospital acting chief executive Anita Parbhoo said: “We’re proud of the entire multidisci­plinary team involved in helping these twin patients, from the birthing team in the Eastern Cape and the referring

clinicians, to our staff in the wards and theatre and then to those involved with the post-surgery care.”

Figaji said the successful surgery was a recognitio­n of the hospital’s expertise.

“We already have an internatio­nal profile, and we are the only dedicated paediatric neurosurge­ry centre in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years we have accumulate­d considerab­le expertise around a range of difficult brain and spine conditions in children. We already play a major role in the internatio­nal paediatric neurosurge­ry community.”

 ??  ?? MOM Ntombikayi­se Tyhalisi, with her twin daughters Siphosethu and Amahle who were born joined at the head in the Eastern Cape.
MOM Ntombikayi­se Tyhalisi, with her twin daughters Siphosethu and Amahle who were born joined at the head in the Eastern Cape.

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