Twins Conjoined at the Head Separated After 12 Hour Surgery

conjoined twins
Source: Reuters

After a complicated 12-hour long surgery, doctors in Israel successfully separated conjoined twins born attached at the head.

Conjoined twins occur once every 200,000 live births and approximately 70% are female. Although the majority are joined at the chest or upper abdomen, a small proportion (2%) are born attached at the head. Twins who share a skull often also share the vessels and sinuses. Thus, making separation extremely difficult. Now, for the first time in Israel, doctors successfully separated twin girls joined at the back of their heads. This is the first such procedure in Israel and only twentieth in the world.

The twin girls were born in August of last year and spent most of their first year of life unable to see each other. Born in Soroka, Beersheba, the girls underwent a 12-hour surgical procedure at Soroka Medical Center.

This is a rare and complex operation performed so far in the world only about 20 times, and for the first time in Israel.

Dr. Mickey Gidon, director of Soroka’s Pediatric Neurosurgery

Doctors Expecting a Full Recovery

According to the Israeli publication Ynet, the surgery involved a team of over 50 experts from across the world. The team included specialists in plastic surgery, neurosurgery, pediatric intensive care and brain imaging. Led by UK neurosurgeon Dr Noor ul Owase Jeelani, the 12-hour procedure cost an estimated $2.17 million.

Several months prior to the procedure, doctors placed inflated silicone bags under the girls’ scalps to expand the skin and tissue. The stretched skin then helped the surgeons reconstruct the skulls after the separation. Moreover, the team used 3D models of the twins to prepare for the lengthy procedure. The models allowed them to view the bones and blood vessels and better plan for it.

According to Dr. Mickey Gordon, director of Soroka’s Pediatric Neurosurgery, the twins are expected to make a full recovery. However, the team is keeping a close eye on the girls, looking out for any complications.

The upcoming days are crucial as the twins are recovering. Every complication could be dangerous, doubly so when it comes to brain surgery.

Dr. Mickey Gidon, director of Soroka’s Pediatric Neurosurgery

Previously doctors in Vatican City also managed to successfully separate a pair of twins conjoined at the skull.



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