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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Separated twins 'recovering well'
Conjoined twins with parents in Singapore
The twins are not yet out of danger but hopes are high
Two 15-month-old Indonesian conjoined twin girls who were successfully separated in an operation in Singapore are "recovering well", doctors say.

Surgeons separated the girls, who were joined at the hip and abdomen, in a 10-hour operation on Saturday.

"Both woke up this morning and were smiling at their parents," Dr Tan Kai-chah said.

Anggi is breathing on her own but Anjeli remains on a ventilator. They could go home in three weeks.

The operation took place at Singapore's Gleneagles Hospital.

The S$450,000 ($273,000; 150,000) operation was sponsored by wealthy Indonesians and some Singapore medical fees were waived.

Hole in the heart

"I'm so relieved. I'm so happy. It's a miracle," said mother Meng Harmaini.

The separated twins have one leg each but surgeons were happy and surprised that many of the major organs were present in both girls.

They had a full set of organs themselves so now that they are separated they have almost everything that baby girls should have
Edward Kiely, surgeon

Anjeli, the weaker of the girls, has a hole in the heart and doctors say they are not out of danger as complications could still arise.

However, British consultant surgeon, Edward Kiely, said: "I am very hopeful of the outcome... By this time next week if they are in good shape, I can say that they are out of trouble."

The twins come from an impoverished family in the Indonesian city of Medan.

They came to Singapore in February to undergo tests to determine their suitability for surgery.

Singapore has emerged as a leading centre for advanced medical techniques and has now conducted three successful twin separations.

However, the most high-profile operation - on 29-year-old Iranian twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani - ended in tragedy when both died of blood loss in a 52-hour operation in 2003.

The conjoined twins syndrome occurs once in 200,000 live births.

In surgery, one of the twins often dies and only about 20% of separated twins live beyond the age of two.

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