Friday, 23 August, 2019

Twins Joined at Head Successfully Separated After 50 Hours of Operations

Safa and Marwa Ullah before a surgery to separate their heads Safa and Marwa Ullah before a surgery to separate their heads
Patty Aguilar | 18 July, 2019, 17:54

The pair led the team at Great Ormond Street Hospital behind this year's successful separation of previously conjoined twins Safa and Marwa who were born in January 2017 in northern Pakistan.

Around two in five sets of craniopagus twins are stillborn or die during labor, while a third more do not survive the first 24 hours.

Great Ormond Street also posted a photo on Twitter showing the girls leaving on July 1.

"We are indebted to the hospital and to the staff and we would like to thank them for everything they have done", the twins' mother, Zainab Bibi, said in a statement.

The doctors then reconstructed the skulls of the girls who are craniopagus twins, living with the extremely rare condition of being joined at the head.

Surgeons used 3D printing to create plastic models of the girls' skulls so they could practice, and virtual reality was used to create an exact replica of the girls' anatomy. Following this, a piece of plastic was placed between the two brains two internally have two separate children on the operating table. Surgery to separate them, she was later told, would nearly certainly end one of the girls' lives.

The Guardian reports that one of the twins suffered a stroke during one of the surgeries.

The first operation was carried out in October a year ago, when Safa and Marwa were 19 months old, and the final procedure happened in February.

"For the first two to three procedures we focused on separating out the brains and blood vessels", Jeelani said in the GOSH video.

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The final major operation involved medics building new skulls using the girls' own bone.

Though the girls are said to be doing well, the surgery was not plain sailing. Doctors had to separate the shared blood vessels.

"The NHS, the way it's set up, it's a socialist system, it's much more collaborative, so we are able to grow teams, we are able to get 100-plus people together and say "Right, let's think about this", and everybody's just thinking about the real things they need to think about rather than the other pressures that some other countries may have".

"It's been a long and complex journey for them, and for the clinical team looking after them", Noor ul Owase Jeelani, the girls' neurosurgeon, and Professor David Dunaway, the girls' craniofacial surgeon, told Sky News.

"She's always been the first to count or speak and Marwa is more cheeky where as soon as Saga goes to sleep, Marwa comes out to shine".

"Their faith and determination have been so important in getting them through the challenges they have faced".

The twins are undergoing daily physiotherapy as part of their ongoing rehabilitation.

They have been moved to a London address with their mother, grandfather and uncle.

"We are also incredibly proud of the GOSH team responsible for their treatment and care over the past 10 months".

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