Surgeons in Australia separate conjoined girls from Bhutan

Laverne Higgins
November 10, 2018

The paediatrician said his team was well prepared for the surgery and there weren't any complications or major bleeding during the procedure.

The case of two USA boys joined at the top of their skulls attracted global attention in 2016 as doctors successfully operated to separate them.

'It will be really interesting to see what will happen once the girls are separated'.

The twins were born in Bhutan, a tiny Asian kingdom of less than a million people, and were actually the first set of conjoined twins in the country's history.

Nima and Dawa were born by caesarean section on July 13 past year in a regional hospital in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, shocking doctors and the twins' family who had been expecting twins, but did not know they were conjoined.

The girls' mother, Bhumchu Zangmo, was both nervous and happy about the operation to separate the twins finally taking place, said Elizabeth Lodge, chief executive of the Children First Foundation that's assisting the family.

She also revealed that the twins have unique personalities, despite literally being joined at the hip.

'Nima's the robust one.

"She just wants that quietness and finds it peaceful", Ms Lodge said. The surgery is expected to last at least six hours.

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The 15-month-old girls, Nima and Dawa Pelden, are joined at the torso and share a liver and possibly a bowel, doctors say.

"If they don't share much of a connection beyond what we have seen on scans, we should nearly finish by 4pm".

Head of paediatric surgery Dr Joe Crameri, who led the operation, said the girls were breathing independently and in recovery.

He said the major challenge had been to reconstruct the twins' abdomens.

The twins were flown from their home in Bhutan to Australia on October 2 for the operation. They shared a liver, but doctors started the procedure unsure if they also shared a bowel.

"The muscles in their limbs have not been used so far, because they have not learnt to crawl and do the usual stuff kids at this stage do", Dr. Sherbub explained.

It is hoped the girls will not have to spend time in ICU but they will be closely monitored over the next 24 to 48 hours and are expected to be in hospital for about a week.

Get well soon Nima and Dawa!

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