Iraqi Twins Separated Successfully

RIYADH: A team of 30 doctors and para medical staff toiled for 10 hours yesterday to separate a pair of Iraqi conjoined twins who were joined at the lower thorax.

“The twins, who also shared a liver, were successfully separated this evening, and they are responding well to the post-operation treatment,” Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, who led the team at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), said yesterday.

“The operation, which involved a complex procedure in separating the liver and bowel, ended late Saturday for the infants, Ayad and Zeyad,” said Al-Rabeeah, who is also the chief executive officer at the KAMC.

He thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for his humanitarian gesture to save the lives of the two infants. Four physicians from Al-Khansaa Teaching Hospital in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where the twins were born, were present to observe the procedure.

The Iraqi twins were flown to Riyadh from their hometown Mosul on April 12 on the instructions of King Abdullah. The king had heard a televised message from the twins’ parents asking for help. “They are stable and they are responding very well to treatment after the surgery … we are optimistic that they will recover fast,” Al-Rabeeah said.

He said it had taken a few months for the malnourished children to gain enough weight to withstand the operation, which was conducted in seven phases. The doctors first detached the abdomen and then proceeded to separate the liver, he added.

The first phase of the surgery started at 7 a.m. yesterday, but “incision to the deep structure of the body” was carried out later in the afternoon.

“It was only at 3.30 p.m. that the news of separation came out of the operation theater,” said a PR executive at the hospital. Ayad and Zeyad will remain in the hospital for a few months before returning to Iraq.

The KAMC has performed 19 successful operations on conjoined twins with the support of King Abdullah.

Conjoined twins occur roughly once in every 50,000 births worldwide, but only few survive.

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