Twins joined at head separated in 16-hour surgery at AIIMS
The surgery presented a peculiar challenge because 27-month-old twins were attached at the skull — called carniopagus conjoining – and shared brain tissue, nerves and major blood vessels.delhi Updated: Oct 26, 2017 23:49 IST
A pair of rare conjoined twins from Odisha were successfully separated by doctors from a dozen different superspecialities in a marathon surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) on Thursday.
The surgery presented a peculiar challenge because 27-month-old Jagannath Kanhar and Balram Kanhar were attached at the skull — called carniopagus conjoining – and shared brain tissue, nerves and major blood vessels.
The operation, which lasted 16 hours and involved 40 surgeons and specialists, is the first case of craniopagus twins being separated in the country, doctors said.
“Their chances of survival are 10-15%, which is the same as the global average. This is first time such a separation has been attempted in India, and though the surgery went well, risk to life remains,” said Dr AK Mahapatra, chief of the Neurosciences Centre at AIIMS.
“They are critical but stable, and are being closely monitored in the intensive care unit (ICU),” said Dr Randeep Guleria, director, AIIMS.
Thursday’s surgery, in which the brain has been separated and their skulls covered with skin flaps, is the second procedure the Kanhar twins have undergone. On August 28, a vein graft was inserted into their brain. A third surgery to graft their skull bones and cover the exposed brain will be attempted in a couple of years, doctors said.
“It was imperative to separate them because the conjoinment was not just affecting their movement, but also their brain development. Though they are more than two years old, they still do not speak,” Mahapatra said.
Called Jagga and Balia by their family, the twins were referred to AIIMS from the Cuttack District Hospital in Odisha, where they were born.
“Their parents are poor farmers from Kandhamal district, and unable to look after them. They have two other children and can’t afford a meal,” said Mahapatra. “The Odisha government has given ?1 crore from the CM’s Fund for the surgery and treatment.”
Members of the twins’ family were not available for comment.
Fifty-nine such craniopagus surgeries have been performed worldwide. Separation surgeries for two other sets of craniopagus twins – Vani and Veena from Hyderabad and Saba and Farah from Patna – were planned in India in the past, but abandoned because the risks were too high.