NEW DELHI, August 29: A major surgery is taking place for the first time in India at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in a bid to split twins joined at the head on Monday.
The surgery has started at around 9 am and is underway at the AIIMS hospital, Delhi.
Doctors are putting their best to save both the twins and to make it a historic achievement.
Twins joined at the head are very rare, occurring once in 25 million live births, which is roughly the total number of births in India each year.
Nearly four in 10 such twins are dead at birth and an additional three die within 24 hours.
Since 1952, only about 50 surgeries have been done so far to separate such twins across the world, with the success rate below 25%.
The twins Jaga and Baliya, two years and three months old, whose operation is more complicated because they share veins that return blood to the heart from the brain.
Surgeons plan to create an alternative venous channel, expand the skin and then separate the brain in the first stage of the surgery, which will be followed by complete separation and skin closure. The children are otherwise healthy and playful, said a doctor.
“This attempt to separate them, if successful, will provide hope and test the frontiers of science,” a doctor said. Nearly 20 specialists from paediatric neurosurgery, neuro-anaesthesia, plastic surgery and cardiovascular sciences are involved in the operation, besides a Japanese expert flown in to assist in the procedure.
The twins, born to Bhuiyan and Pushpa, farmers from Odisha’s Kandhamal district, were referred to AIIMS last month.
Even the AIIMS neurosurgeons were initially not sure about the surgery. “Multiple MRIs and angiograms were done to examine the brain structure of the twins over the last one month. We went through literature on such surgeries conducted worldwide and even contacted some of the surgeons who did them. Finally, it was decided to take up the case for surgery with the hope of saving at least one of the twins,” said a surgeon.
In another similar case, a pair of twins joined at the head is surviving without surgery in India.