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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Groundbreaking conjoined twins op
conjoined twins
The twins before and after the surgery
Nine-month-old conjoined twin girls who were born with connected livers and hearts have been successfully separated in groundbreaking surgery.

Bangkok's Siriraj hospital claims the 12-hour operation is a "world first".

Pantawan and Panwad Thiyenjai were separated in late February by a team of 61 medical staff including five heart surgeons.

Before the operation the girls were connected from the top of their chests to the bottom of their abdomens.

Pantawan and Panwad underwent surgery at eight-months-old.

Groundbreaking

The hospital delayed making an announcement about the procedure until doctors were sure that the girls had a good chance of survival.

Piyasakol Sakolsatayathorn, the dean of Siriraj's medical science faculty, said: "From our research, there are no twins who were connected by their hearts and livers who survived.

"This is the first time in the world."

The twins' mother Usa Thiyenjai, 29 and from Thailand's northern province of Phrae, said: "I pray and beg to Buddha to help my daughters. I intend to raise them as best as I can."

She said she would not want to have any more children because she is afraid they too could be conjoined.

Thailand has a long history of famous conjoined twins. Chang and Eng Bunker, born there in 1811, were one of the first sets of conjoined twins to be shown to the world, coining the phrase "Siamese Twins".

Both travelled to US and later married two American sisters and had more than 20 children between them.




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