Conjoined twins Nima, Dawa undergo separation surgery in marathon procedure


Updated

November 09, 2018 14:24:00

A marathon procedure to seperate conjoined 14-month-old twins Nima and Dawa Pelden is underway at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, with doctors saying the operation is “all about the connections”.

Key points:

  • The surgery was delayed for several weeks until the twins grew stronger
  • The twins are believed to share a liver and possibly a bowel, doctors say
  • The operation is expected to take a number of hours

The girls, who come from Bhutan, are joined from the lower chest to just above the pelvis, and it is believed they share a liver.

The surgery is being carried out by four surgeons and a team of about 18 people, and is expected to take a number of hours.

Joe Crameri, one of the paediatric surgeons involved in the operation, said he was confident it would be a success.

“I feel confident that we’ve built a team that can deal with this,” he told the media before the surgery began.

“I’m quietly confident that we’re going to find something that we can deal with in a very straightforward manner. That’s what I’m hoping.”

Dr Crameri said the operation “all comes down to the connections between the girls”.

“If they don’t share much of a connection beyond what we’ve seen in these scans then we could finish almost by 4:00pm,” he said.

“The first step is to position the girls so we can look at what are the structures that are connecting them.

“I think the other challenge will be the bowel and maybe sharing that.”

Dr Crameri said everyone was born with a lot of bowel.

“You can afford to decrease that [the bowel] without compromising how everything functions,” he said.

“So we’re hopeful we can deal with that challenge if it arises without compromising the girls to a major degree.”

The surgery was delayed about four weeks ago because doctors were concerned the twins’ nutrients were not in the right balance ahead of the planned operation.

Since then, they have been staying at a property at Kilmore, north of Melbourne, run by Children First Foundation, which is funding their flights and surgery.

A spokesperson said the girls had been enjoying themselves, playing with other children and singing songs but that their mother, Bhumchu Zangmo was ready for the surgery to get underway.

“I think in her style she doesn’t express a lot of anxiety and I suspect deep down she’s anxious because of the nature of the surgery, but she doesn’t express that in an open way,” Dr Crameri said.

Ms Zangmo was planning to spend most of the time during the procedure at the hospital waiting for updates from doctors, but also planned to spend some time in prayer at a Buddhist temple.

“She said to me yesterday she was a little bit scared,” said Elizabeth Lodge from the foundation.

“But [also] very pleased that today is here.”

Ms Lodge said the twins both have unique personalities.

“Nima’s the robust one. She tends to … always be on the top, pulling rank, as we say, and Dawa’s more placid,” she said.

“It will be really interesting to see what will happen once the girls are separated. They’re good mates.

“When Nima’s asleep, Dawa pops her arm around her.

“Then she wants to wake her up so she can play.”

Topics:

medical-procedures,

health,

doctors-and-medical-professionals,

children,

family-and-children,

community-and-society,

melbourne-3000,

vic

First posted

November 09, 2018 09:17:17



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