Updated: January 27, 2021 8:40:15 pm
In a six-hour surgery, two newborns, conjoined at their abdomen, were separated at Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children on January 3. The babies are set to be discharged this week.
The omphalopagus twins — joined by belly-button — are rare with one in 50,000 births and low survival rates. Their mother, requesting anonymity, said she was informed about the conjoined embryos during antenatal ultrasound scan while she was expecting. “Since last year, we started looking for options to surgically separate the babies after delivery,” she added.
On December 21, the twins — both girls — were born through caesarean procedure. They were born facing each other with their liver, lower chest bone and abdominal cavities fused together. A team of paediatric surgeons, neonatologist, paediatric anesthesiologists, plastic surgeons, radiologists and cardiac surgeons planned the surgery to separate the newborns.
Dr Pradnya Bendre, professor and head of paediatrics surgery at the hospital, said: “The babies underwent extensive investigations as we had to understand the anatomy and complexity of the surgery. The twins shared a liver, lower chest bone, and presumably intestines.”
During the examinations, the doctors found that one baby was pale while another’s skin was pinker due to differential blood circulation. A major vessel was unable to fully supply blood to one of the babies. “The decision of going into separation surgery was a perplexing task. Delaying a surgery till babies grow up makes the surgery easier for surgeons but difficult for parents to look after them,” Bendre said.
One of the two babies also posed a risk of cardiac failure. Fourteen days after their birth, the two went under the knife for the separation procedure. A special technology of cutting liver using a harmonic scalpel was used to minimize blood loss.
“Conjoined twins are seen in 1:50000 to 1:200000 of all live births and less than 300 successful surgical separations have been done in the past. Omphalopagus twins comprise 10% to 18% of all conjoined twins,” said Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO of the hospital.
The newborns, over a month old now, recovered well after spending two days on ventilator. They started being fed after the third day of the surgery.
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