Conjoined Twins Survive Separation Surgery

By Rayiah Ross

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Twins Jaga and Balia Odisha before their separation surgery. 

A new report on the separation of conjoined twins illustrates the gut-wrenching decisions doctors often have to make in highly complicated medical cases. Conjoined twins, Jaga and Balia Odisha, underwent an 18-hour surgery for separation at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. The two year old twins were born with fused heads, and have survived a surgery where 50 percent of children die either during surgery or 24 hours later.

    A team of around 30 specialists from the institute’s neurosurgery, neuro-anaesthesia and plastic surgery departments performed the marathon surgery. The first phase of the surgery was performed on August 28 where the doctors created a venous bypass to separate the veins that return blood to the heart from the brain shared by the two.

    Dr. Deepak Gupta, senior neurosurgeon at the institute, had earlier said twins joined at the head are very rare, occurring once in 25 million live births, and it is rarer even for them to share the vein carrying blood back from the brain to the heart. Worldwide, there have been very few successful surgeries to separate such twins. In New Dehli, two similar surgeries have taken place to separate twins conjoined at the head, but were ultimately unsuccessful, as the children died during the procedure.

    According to Dr. Mahapatra from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jaga has recognised his mother and if he remains stable, he will be shifted out of the ICU in the next 48 hours. “Kalia is on multiple drugs and under observation. He will remain in the ICU for eight to 10 days more,” he said. In another statement from AIIMS to Times Now it was said that, “Jaga’s cardiac and kidney function has further improved. If he remains stable, he will be shifted to private ward after 48 hours,” said a statement from AIIMS. Kalia is still on the ventilator but his condition is said to be stable while Jaga has since been removed from the ventilator. This miraculous work of surgery has been great so far and we can only wish the best for the twins and their families.

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