Doctors treating the conjoined twins from Raigad on Friday gave the girls two separate opening to excrete stools.
The four-day-old girls underwent a major surgery at BJ Wadia Hospital, Parel to prevent infection from spreading in one of the twins owing to them having a common passage for passing stools and urine.
Born to Raigad residents Shalu and Arun Pawar, the twins are joined at the abdomen in such a manner that it forms a plus sign, said doctors. Owing to the fusion, the girls’ legs and genitalia are protruding from the waist.
A team of 15 senior doctors, consisting of paediatric, orthopaedic and plastic surgeons, as well as an anaesthetist, were present during the operation, which lasted about four hours. Doctors said the twins would need surgeries in phases to be separated.
“In today’s surgery, we created openings for stool for both the babies on their abdomen. The next stage would be separation of the genitalia, bladder and rectum,” said Dr Pradnya Bendre, chief of paediatric surgery at the hospital.
The doctors said they needed to create the openings at the earliest because one of the babies was developing sepsis, making the other child vulnerable to the infection.
At present, the twins are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and do not need any ventilator support to breathe, which is a good sign, said doctors.
Doctors said that initially the parents were not cooperative, but after the surgery on Friday, they appeared hopeful. Dr Yashwant Amdekar, medical director of the hospital, said the treatment would be done for free.
The family was brought to Mumbai with the efforts of the NGO Pratham. “It took a long time to convince the parents to come to Mumbai with the twins. Villagers were suggesting the children be sacrificed,” said Subhash Raje from Pratham.
The two babies currently jointly weigh only 2.6kg and for the next surgery they should ideally be weight at least 5kg each.