Australian surgeons separate conjoined twins from Bhutan

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

Surgeons have successfully separated conjoined 15-month-old sisters Nima and Dawa following nearly six-hour surgery at the Royal Children's hospital in Melbourne on Friday.

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.

Dr. Joe Crameri, head of paediatric surgery at Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital, said in a press conference Friday that the successful surgery was a "relief" and a "joy".

"We could certainly see today the value of the girls having that time with Children First and building up their strength and I think that will significantly help them with their recovery", Dr Crameri said. They shared a liver, but doctors started the procedure unsure if they also shared a bowel.

The girls were successfully separated after a six-hour operation at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

From that point on, to avoid confusion, Nima was known as "Green" and Dawa as "Red".

The surgery that was planned to take place on October 12 had to be postponed to allow the girls to build strength as they were found to be underweight for their age.

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"We didn't find surprises", said lead pediatric surgeon Joe Crameri, "we knew the liver would be connected.it was divided successfully without any major bleeding".

Ms Zangmo would spend the day praying and meditating, she added.

While the surgery was a success, doctors say there is still a long road ahead for the girls as they grow up separated.

Crameri said one of the risks was the use of anaesthetic, as they did not know how one twin would react to the other receiving it.

The Victorian state government pledged to cover surgical costs, with other funds raised to go towards the girls' Australian rehabilitation and return home to Bhutan.

Conjoined twins are very rare - it is thought one in every 200,000 births - and around 40-60% of these births are delivered stillborn.

"The complex task of anaesthetizing two matching girls exactly the same time, who share an unknown level of circulation, will begin at 8:45am".

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