Medicine

Surgeons in Australia separating conjoined girls from Bhutan

Surgeons in Australia separating conjoined girls from Bhutan

The girls were known to share a liver which would complicate the surgery.

Surgeons have spoken of their joy after the successful separation of conjoined Bhutanese twins Nima and Dawa in Melbourne.

The 15-month-old sisters from Bhutan are "doing very well" and did not need extra recovery time in intensive care after the six-hour surgery to separate them, pediatric surgeon Joe Crameri of Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital told local reporters.

As the public eagerly waits for good news, the Royal Children's Hospital is not expected to release any information about the progress of the operation until 4pm on Friday, with Dr Crameri to give his first update on the girls early on Saturday morning.

He said they would separate the liver, but there was one "unknown" -whether the girls shared a bowel.

A team of about 25 clinicians, including the Bhutan pediatrician who had treated the girls since birth, successfully separated the baby girls, dividing their liver.

The operation has previously been postponed after last-minute checks revealed the sisters were not ready.

During the operation, the twins' mother planned to wait at a Buddhist temple and pray.

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If so it would also be divided, he said, and "our challenge will be to reconstruct their abdominal walls to close it over".

"Mum is very relieved", Crameri said, flanked by his surgical team still dressed in their scrubs.

And despite delays and worries about the operation, doctors say it was a success.

He said the next few hours would still remain critical to their recovery.

On Thursday afternoon, the twins travelled to Melbourne from Kilmore, where they have been staying at the country retreat of the Children First Foundation.

He acted as a translator throughout the procedure for the girls' mother, who spent time praying and meditating.

The procedure and recovery are expected to cost at least $350,000 and the state government has offered to pay the bill.

Fortunately it was found that the babies" bowels were a "bit intertwined" but otherwise not connected "in any major way'.