What an Italian hospital says was a first-of-its-kind operation, two-year-old conjoined twins from birth have successfully been separated.
The twins who goes by the names– Ervina and Prefina – had been joined above the nape of their necks – they were born with a condition the Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù in Rome described on Tuesday as “one of the rarest and most complex forms of cranial and cerebral fusion,” Agence France-Presse reported.
Surgeons succeeded in separating the girls and they are doing well. The hospital — whose name translates to Baby Jesus Pediatric Hospital — said it was the first time in Italy and likely the world that surgeons were able to separate twins who shared the back of their skull and its venous system
The two sisters were brought to Italy as at September 2018 from Bangui, Central African Republic, after the hospital’s president met the babies and their mom where they were born, according to AFP.
Medical tests has showed the girls to be generally in good health, but one sister’s heart was working harder to maintain the “physiological balance of the organs of both, including the brain,” the outlet had reported.
The twins had been observed to have “distinct” personalities, with Prefina being vivacious and playful while Ervina was more serious and quietly observing, according to the hospital.
The challenge facing doctors was the shared network of blood vessels bringing blood from the girls’ brains to their hearts, the hospital said.
That required “three very delicate operations to progressively reconstruct two independent venous systems,” they added.
On June 5, the twins finally underwent the operation, which took 18 hours and included 30 doctors and nurses who worked to divide the bones of the shared skull.
The surgeons then reconstructed the membrane covering the two brains and recreated the skin lining over the little girls’ new skulls.
“A month after the final separation, the twins are fine,” the hospital had said and shared a video of a party it threw on June 29 for their second birthday.
In the video, the girls were seen with their heads wrapped in protective bandages as their beaming mum carried them.
The hospital had said that the girls would have to wear protective helmets for a few months due to the ongoing risk of infection, but their brains were found to be “intact” and they will have the opportunity to “lead a normal life, like all girls of their age.”