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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 16:30 GMT
Girl 'well' after separation op
Lakshmi and her father Shambhu - 13/11/2007
Lakshmi is now able to breathe on her own
An Indian girl who had surgery to separate her from her partially developed twin is out of intensive care and recovering well, her doctors say.

Lakshmi Tatma was joined at the pelvis to what was, in effect, a headless, undeveloped twin.

A team of surgeons in the southern city of Bangalore operated on Lakshmi for 27 hours last week to separate her spinal column and kidney from her twin's.

Her extra pairs of arms and legs were also removed in the operation.

Dr Sharan Patil, the lead surgeon, said Lakshmi was now breathing on her own.

"We've taken her off all the monitoring," he told reporters.

"She is coping very well, feels stable and she's being carried around by her mother and her father."

Goddess of wealth

It is hoped the procedure will allow her to survive beyond adolescence.

x-ray of Lakshmi
1. Spine cut from the front to remove extra limbs
2. Wide gap between pelvic bones closed using bone grafts
3. More operations may be needed to correct club feet and rebuild pelvic floor muscles

The surgery began at 0700 on Tuesday 6 November and ended at 1000 the next day.

Lakshmi's parents are poor labourers from the northern Indian state of Bihar.

The child had been hailed by some in her village as the reincarnation of the multi-limbed Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.

Conjoined twins are rare, occurring in about one in every 200,000 births.

They originate from a single fertilised egg, so they are always identical and of the same sex.

The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5% and 25%.

Historical records over the past 500 years detail about 600 surviving sets of conjoined twins - more than 70% of which have been female twins.

A surgeon explains the operation's procedure

Girl separation surgery a success
07 Nov 07 |  South Asia
Many-limbed India girl in surgery
06 Nov 07 |  South Asia
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13 Oct 03 |  Health
Conjoined twins
06 Jul 03 |  Medical notes

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