Conjoined Bhutanese Twins Who Share Liver To Undergo Separation Surgery

Nima and Dawa were known to share a liver but could also share part of the bowel which would complicate the surgery

Conjoined twins to undergo life-changing separation surgery at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital

'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'.

The 15-month-old girls, Nima and Dawa, were doing well after the surgery that lasted nearly six hours, said Joe Crameri, the head of pediatric surgery at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.

He said once the team realised they were able to divide the liver successfully without compromising the girls or doing "anything fancy" to the bowel was a "sense of relief".

Surgeons have successfully separated conjoined Bhutanese twins Nima and Dawa after a six-hour operation in Melbourne.

"While it was all swimming next to one another, it wasn't connected in any major way, " he said.

The girls and their mother spent the past month at a retreat outside Melbourne run by the Children First Foundation, which raised money to bring the family to Australia for the surgery.

The worst-case scenario would be if the girls shared a component that is vital to both. "But there is nothing on the image that suggests that", Crameri said.

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

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Nima and Dawa had grown facing each other, and could not sit down together.

Once the girls' internal organs were separated, the incisions will be closed over using skin, muscle and fat.

When the girls were given the green light on Friday, they were anaesthetised about 8.30am, before a team of four surgeons and about 18 people. All the doctors, nurses and surgical equipment assigned to each girl were also colour-coded.

Elizabeth Lodge, from the charity, said Ms Zangmo had felt "a little bit scared", but had shown "extraordinary calmness" before the procedure.

She spent Friday praying and meditating.

Dr Crameri congratulated his fellow surgeons and nursing staff for their help during the lengthy procedure and said he had notified the girls' mother Bhumchu Zangmo.

"She still has this extraordinary calmness about her, which is just wonderful".

Dr Sherub first met the girls when they were only a day old and played a major role in getting the twins to Australia, having already spent time in the country as the victor of a medical scholarship.

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