By Safura Rahimi
Doctors successfully separate pair of Omani conjoined twins attached at the head in 18-hour surgery.
A team of doctors in Saudi Arabia has given a pair of Omani conjoined twins attached at the head a shot at normal life by successfully separating them after 18 hours of surgery, it was announced on Monday.
Marwah and Safa were born in August last year with fused skulls and separate bodies, a rare phenomenon present in only about 2% of conjoined twin cases.
The twins were separated on Saturday after an 18-hour surgery at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh.
The surgery - which typically has a 60% success rate - had to be carried out in seven phases by a 22-member medical team headed by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, Chief Executive of KAMC.
The twins were brought to Saudi Arabia for treatment in December last year under instructions from Saudi leader King Abdullah.
A 60-member multidisciplinary team was formed on their arrival to prepare the infants for the gruelling surgery, and a rehearsal was carried out two days prior to the separation.
“This was the first time we have used very special and delicate equipment such as a neuro navigator, a volume dextro scope, a mobile CT scanner and a special anaesthesia support table,” Al-Rabeeah said.
The twins are currently in stable condition and will stay in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for two weeks before moving to the paediatric ward for rehabilitation, which will take several weeks, he added.
“The infants will require further operations to reconstruct their skulls.”
Conjoined twins - which have an overall survival rate of approximately 25% - are estimated to range in occurrence from one in 50,000 births to one in 200,000 births, with a somewhat higher incidence in Southwest Asia and Africa, according to studies.
In July Al Rabeeah and his team successfully separated conjoined Cameroonian twins Pheinbom and Shevoboh at King Abdulaziz Medical City.
This operation marks the fourteenth successful separation conducted at the facility, which has become an international centre for conjoined twin separation.