Over a month after two-year-old twins from Odisha, who are joined at the head, were admitted to AIIMS, the hospital Monday began India’s first craniopagus surgery to separate the two.
Sources told The Indian Express that a team of specialists — including one from Japan — began the first stage of the surgery at 8.45 am. Sources said it is still underway.
On July 14, the twins, Jagannath and Balram, were admitted to AIIMS. Initial investigation had revealed that there was “a lot of of brain fusion, lumps in the neck, chest infection and malnourishment”.
According to sources, the surgery will be carried out in three stages and a detailed “neuro assessment” will be done during the first stage.
Dr A K Mahapatra, chief of the neurosciences centre at AIIMS, who is heading the team, had earlier told The Indian Express that one baby has “more brain infused than the other”. Sources said the surgery is being done after “nourishing” the twins and making them “anaesthesia-fit”.
Sources said the actual separation of the head will take place in the second stage. Two teams will then operate on the twins simultaneously. In the third stage, reconstruction will take place. “The reconstruction by a team of specialists can be done after 15 days or even a month,” a source said, adding that it will take between 10-50 hours.
The team conducting the surgery includes Dr Mahapatra, Dr Deepak Gupta, professor of neurosurgery and Dr Mihir Prakash Pandia, Head of Department, Neuro Anaesthesiology.
Sources said the decision to begin the surgery was taken after an MRI and brain mapping examination was done to check how impaired the brain functioning is.