Ram-Laxman: joined at birth, separated by docs

Updated on May 30, 2007 02:06 AM IST

In a rare kind of surgery, doctors at the Ambedkar Medical College hospital in Chhattisgarh successfully separate a 10-month-old pair of conjoined twins, reports Ejaz Kaiser.

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Hindustan Times | ByEjaz Kaiser, Raipur

In a rare kind of surgery, a 10-month-old pair of conjoined twins were successfully separated by a team of doctors at the Ambedkar Medical College hospital in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, on Tuesday.

The thrilled team of doctors who conducted the operation told Hindustan Times that the twins (Ram and Laxman) are safe and doing fine after a two-phase operation lasting over four and half hours.

What are conjoined twins?

Identical twins whose embryos did not separate completely, conjoined twins are physically joined and often share some organs. Symmetrical conjoined twins usually have no birth anomalies except at the areas of fusion and can sometimes be separated by surgery. In asymmetrical conjoined twins, one is fairly well-developed, but the other is severely underdeveloped and dependent on the larger twin for nutrition. The underdeveloped twin may have to be surgically separated to save the larger twin. The term originally referred to Chang and Eng Bunker (1811–1874), Chinese brothers born in Siam (now Thailand), who were joined by a ligament from breastbone to navel. They travelled with a circus company for many years and came to be known as the Siamese Twins.They married two sisters and fathered several children.
"They will be kept under observation for another two days", said Dr AK Sharma and Dr Amin Memon, who led a six-member team of doctors.

Earlier, the doctors in Ambedkar hospital kept the conjoint twins under observation for around ten months, as both were weak when they were brought to the hospital from Bilaspur district, where the twins were born. The parents of the twins are labourers.

The twins were joined below the chest and stomach. The doctors informed that that all the organs and systems except the liver were functioning separately in both. "The liver had to be divided during separation of the twins", said Sharma, HOD (Department of Surgery) and further added that they had to wait for almost ten months so that babies become healthy enough to ensure a safe separation.

Later the parents of the twins told reporters that they were tense at the commencement of the surgery and were delighted with the news of successful surgical removal of their sons, Ram and Laxman.

The doctors working in the Ambedkar Hospital are calling the day as the happiest event in its history.

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