Conjoined twins surgery success in Melb

Alicia Farmer
November 9, 2018

The 15-month-old girls, Nima and Dawa, were doing well after the surgery that lasted nearly six hours, said Joe Crameri, the head of pediatric surgery at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital. The bowel is known to be mixed, but Crameri said doctors don't yet know if the girls have separate bowels sitting next to one another or if the organ is shared between them.

"While it was all swimming next to one another, it wasn't connected in any major way, " he said.

The sisters, who were brought to Australia with their mother in October, are joined at the torso and share a liver.

They were brought to Melbourne with their mother last month, but doctors delayed the surgery until Friday to improve the girls' nutrition needs.

They headed into the theatre at 8am, and doctors planned to administer anaesthesia around 8.45am.

"There will be challenges over the next 24 to 48 hours as with any surgery", Dr Crameri said. All the doctors, nurses and surgical equipment assigned to each girl were also colour-coded.

"It is a relief and it is also a joy, there's nothing better in any operation to be able to go to the parents and say we have been able to take care of your child", Dr Joe Crameri, who led the 18-strong surgical team and is the head of paediatric surgery at the hospital, told a media conference.

The charity's chief executive Elizabeth Lodge said the toddlers' mother Bhumchu Zangmo was feeling "a little bit scared" about the operation, but was otherwise in good spirits.

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She spent Friday praying and meditating.

"She just wants that quietness and finds it peaceful", Ms Lodge said.

In 2009, the same hospital performed a successful operation to separate Bangladeshi conjoined twins.

"She still has this extraordinary calmness about her, which is just incredible".

Surgeons in Australia have begun a complex operation to separate Bhutanese conjoined twins.

The sisters are in recovery and breathing independently following the operation which involved a team of up to 25 surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists.

Dr Sherub first met the girls when they were only a day old and played a major role in getting the twins to Australia, having already spent time in the country as the victor of a medical scholarship.

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