Conjoined twins undergo major separation surgery in Melbourne

CONJOINED twins Nima and Dawa have been successfully separated after surgery in Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital today.

The head of pediatric surgery Dr Joe Crameri said it took two hours before the two girls from Bhutan could enter surgery.

media_cameraNima and Dawa brave twins today before their surgery. Source: Supplied.

About 18 medical staff, including doctors, nurses and anesthetists, tended to the two 15-month-old girls during the six-hour surgery, where their shared organs had to be disentangled.

He said he was successful, despite having to manage the expectations of the family and the public going in.

media_cameraThe twins were successfully separated after a marathon six hours of surgery.

"The one thing I took," said Dr Crameri said speaking to reporters earlier.

"There you go, I got one thing right."

Dr. Crameri confirmed earlier reports that the girls shared a liver that had to be separated.

"The liver breach was a little more significant than we thought it might be," he said.

"I was able to separate that without any bleeding, from that point it was good."

media_cameraNima and Dawa with their mother as they prepare for their surgery earlier today. Source: Supplied.


The infant twins entered the operating theater this morning.

Doctors established they were connected to the torso and also shared a bowel that was needed to be "divided".

media_cameraMum Bhumchu Zhangmo cuddles with her twins in Melbourne. Picture: Daniel Pockett

The twins' mother Bhumchu Zhangmo traveled on a 26-hour journey from Bhutan to Australia, which included a difficult stopover in Bangkok.

media_cameraMs Zhangmo has traveled from her twins to Bhutan so they can undergo separation surgery. Picture: Daniel Pockett
media_cameraThe 15-month-old twins are joined at the torso. It is unclear how many organs they share. Picture: Daniel Pockett

Dr Crameri said before the surgery this "We keep making guesses as long as we do, but the reality is until the operation starts and we get to know what is morning.

"We know the bowel is mixed and it can be completely separated and sitting next to one another or the girls can share the bowel and we have to find a way of dividing that.

"The one benefit we all have is born with a lot of bowel and you can afford to decrease that."

media_cameraConjoined twins Nima and Dawa are 15 months old. Picture: Daniel Pockett

Twins is anaesthesia and different effects the drugs can be twins, as they share a body. "The twins have a shared circulation" and "before" their condition was described as "fragile".

Dr Crameri added. "One of the complexities is that you really do not know what you do to one twin.

The twins and their mother are from the Himalayan nation of Bhutan, a country famed for its mountainous ranges, peacefulness, and a government that instituted a plan to rule around "Gross National Happiness".

media_cameraMs. Zhangmo is excited and nervous ahead of the surgery. Picture: Daniel Pockett

Dr Crameri said he was thrilled with Nima and Dawa's presentation last month.

"I was pleased to see that they were active and they were interacting with one another," he said.

Their mother Ms. Zhangmo was excited and anxious for the surgery to be completed.

"These little girls are extra special because we did not do this surgery …" said Children First Foundation CEO, Elizabeth Lodge.

She has been encouraged to take care of Nima and Dawa, who will be taking a 24-hour at the Children First Foundation facility at a farm in Kilmore, Victoria.

"We have a team of physiotherapists working with us, which is amazing … so we'll get them crawling and rolling and hitting all those marks that most 14-month-old girls are probably hitting by now," she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

media_cameraThe twins with their mother at Kilmore in Victoria. Picture: Daniel Pockett

"We will have some of the same surgeons, the anaesthetists, the theater staff, we will have an ICU team back with us again, so we are very sure these little girls will be separated successfully and soon be able to crawl, roll, jump and run as two little independents. "

The $ 350,000 surgery is expected to be covered by the Victorian State Government.


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Surgeons say they feel safe to be separated with Bhutanese twins Nima and Dawa at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.

Others will be involved in the procedure, 18 of which will work in the operating theater while the others focus on the recovery.

The sisters are joined at the torso and share a liver. It is also possible they share a bowel.

Image: Alex Coppel / News Corp Australia

Surgeons confident in lead up to separation surgery

Originally published as Conjoined twins successfully separated


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