Conjoined Bhutanese twins separated in Australia surgery

Nima and Dawa have been successfully separated. Source AAPMore

It was known that the 15-month-old girls were joined via their shared liver, but doctors said they would not be able to tell if they also shared a bowel until the surgery began. "I feel confident that they will be able to recover from this and go forward".

Dr. Karma Sherbub, Bhutan's only pediatrician, flew to Australia with the twins, and was in the operating room for their surgery.

Preliminary scans and tests had prepared the surgical team, which managed to carry out the entire operation in about six hours.

"We were very fortunate in that there wasn't any significant bowel attachment and while it was all swimming next to one another it wasn't actually connected in any major way", Dr Crameri told reporters.

"We have been able to remove their breathing tubes so they are breathing independently and that was a very important step after the operation", Crameri said.

Funds for the girls' operation, which estimated to cost about $180,000 (250,000 AUD), according to 9 News, was raised by Children First Foundation, a Melbourne-based nonprofit.

Elizabeth Lodge, chief executive of a charity that's assisting, says the girls' mother, Bhumchu Zangmo, was both nervous and happy about the operation to separate the twins.


The surgeon said the next 24 to 48 hours would be the most critical for the little girls, but the twins will be closely monitored.

The doctors planned to split the surgical team in half once the initial separation was complete.

Scientists believe that conjoined twins develop from a single fertilized egg that fails to separate completely as it divides.

Bhutan is a poor Himalayan kingdom where doctors did not have the expertise to separate the girls, who were joined from the chest to the waist.

But Bhumchu Zangmo has been through 14 months of anxiety after her twin daughters, Nima and Dawa, were born joined together at the torso.

They were previously commonly referred to as "Siamese twins", a name that originated with Eng and Chang Bunker, a set of conjoined twins who were born in Siam (now Thailand) in 1811. It was thought that they shared a liver.

"We saw two young girls who were very ready for their surgery, who were able to cope very well with the surgery and are now in our recovery doing very well", he told reporters.

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