New Delhi: In what can be termed as a great moment for Indian medical science, Indian doctors successfully managed to separate three-month-old conjoined twins who shared a liver.
Sisters Jannat and Mannat were born joined at their abdomen and lower chest — a condition known medically as ‘omphalopagus’ — and had a combined weight of nearly 3 kg.
They were delivered at a private hospital in Haryana’s Ambala district on August 27.
Later they were then transferred to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) for specialist treatment.
According to Dr Ravi Kanojia, associate professor at the department of pediatric surgery and the surgeon who led the team, the chances of their birth are ‘one in half a million.’
“This is a rare case scenario and a surgeon would be fortunate to see a couple of cases in his or her lifetime,” he said.
It is the first time such a surgery has been successfully carried out at the PGIMER, the doctor said.
In a series of tests including CT scan and MRI, doctors found that the twin sisters had a conjoined liver and rest of their organs was separate.
Normally such separation surgeries on conjoined twins are performed when the children are over a year old.
However, it was decided that despite the twins only jointly weighing 4 kg at the time of surgery, as any delay could hinder their growth.
A 30-member team worked for eight hours to separate the twins, ensuring each baby had enough of the vital organ to live a normal life, on November 23.
‘While Jannat did well from the beginning, Mannat being smaller of the two had to be kept on ventilator for some time,’ Dr Kanojia said.
‘Mannat required a minor procedure to remove the abdominal mesh in three to four months. Despite this the twins are recovering well.’
The twins’ father, Mohammad Saleem – a labourer who earns only Rs400 a day and could not afford basic treatment for his daughters – praised the dedication of medical staff at PGIMER.
“The doctors at PGI were my last hope and nobody could have attended the twins better than the doctors at this hospital,” Saleem said.