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Monday, 24 December, 2001, 15:34 GMT
Siamese twins home for Christmas
The Mowatt family
The Mowatts were given presents as they left hospital
Siamese twins separated in a pioneering operation are spending their first Christmas at home.

Eman and Sanchia Mowatt left Birmingham Children's Hospital on Christmas Eve.

The pair, only four months old, were joined at the spine when they born.

Now, following a successful operation to separate them two weeks ago, the pair are ready to begin normal lives.

'Best present'

As they left the hospital, the parents, David and Emma Mowatt, from Birmingham, said: "We are delighted to be taking Eman and Sanchia home for their first Christmas.

"This is the best Christmas present ever.

Everyone here who has cared for the girls is delighted they are going home for Christmas

Peter Gornall, paediatric surgeon
"We would both like to thank the medical teams at both City and the Children's Hospitals for the fantastic care they have given the girls over the last few months."

The twins have spent much of their short lives in hospital and underwent 15 hours in surgery and spent 24 hours in intensive care.

Their operation was only the third ever of its type.

Eman and Sanchia shared a single section of bowel, and, more importantly, a length of spinal cord.

Peter Gornall, paediatric surgeon, said: "Eman and Sanchia have made fantastic progress since the operation two weeks ago.

"Both have put on some weight and are thriving independently.

"We will be keeping a close eye on their progress at home and the girls will be coming back to the hospital daily for routine check-ups until the early New Year.

Mowatt family
The family have coped well with the experience
"Everyone here at the Children's Hospital who has cared for the girls is delighted they are going home for Christmas."

A team of surgeons carried out a marathon 15- hour operation on the twins and separated the cord without any adverse effects.

Conjoined twins, known as "Siamese" twins, are extremely rare.

There has only been one other case in the last 30 years in Birmingham.

Most other cases involve twins joined facing each other rather than back to back.

Although the operation was principally carried out by surgeons from hospitals in the Birmingham area, they had assistance from conjoined twins expert Lewis Spitz, from Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London.

The BBC's Colin Pemberton
"They will have to return to hospital each day"

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

12 Dec 01 | Health
Pioneering Siamese twin op
17 Jun 01 | Health
Siamese twin returns home
25 Aug 00 | Q-S
Siamese twins
06 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Surgery to separate Siamese twins
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