Page last updated at 04:28 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Conjoined twins op 'successful'


Chief of Surgery Leo Donnan: "To see them as separate human beings is a pretty amazing moment"

A 25-hour operation to separate conjoined twins has been successful, say doctors in Australia.

Bangladeshi twins Trishna and Krishna, who are nearly three years old, were joined at the top of the head.

A 16-strong team began the delicate operation to separate the girls' brain tissue at 2300 GMT on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Chief of Surgery Leo Donnan said both girls were "doing well" following the surgery at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.


Neurosurgeons divided the children's brains more than 24 hours later, at about 0000 GMT on Tuesday.

Mr Donnan said the moment it was done was "rather surreal".

"There was relief but I think everyone realised there was still a long way to go and that the girls have a very difficult time ahead of them," he said.

He said the next step for the pair was reconstructive surgery, involving the girls' own skin, bone grafts and other artificial material.

This is due to take several hours, with the girls then expected to remain in an induced coma for some days, the AFP news agency reported.

Surgeons operating on the twins
Surgeons worked through the night on the two girls

Mr Donnan said the staff who carried out the operation were delighted.

"Everyone has known these girls as one with their individual personalities, so to see them as separate human beings is a pretty amazing moment," he said.

Earlier, anaesthetist Dr Ian McKenzie told AP the condition of the girls was improving as their bodies began to work more individually.

The girls had been close to death when they arrived in Australia two years ago, and they have already had several preparatory operations.

They were flown over by the Children First Foundation, because of the poor survival rates after similar operations in Bangladesh.

Margaret Smith, the foundation's chief executive, said it was still too early for celebrations, although her staff were "overjoyed".

"I think when we get them to intensive care we'll be very relieved. Then it will just be day by day, hour by hour," he said.

Doctors had earlier said there a 25% chance that one of the sisters would die, and a 50% chance of the girls suffering brain damage.

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