Malawi doctors successfully separate conjoined twins

A week after casting doubts on their capacity, Malawian doctors at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in the capital Lilongwe have successfully separated conjoined twins born to an 18-year-old rural mother.

The two babies were born last Friday, February 1, at the referral facility and initially doctors indicated that they were joined on the abdomen and shared part of the intestines, neck and head.

But while describing the operation as complex, KCH Director Dr Nordeen Alide said specialist doctors managed to successfully carry out the operation after establishing that the children were after all not sharing the vital organs apart from the abdomen.

He said one of the two had proper features of a baby while the other, which he referred to as a parasite, did not.

Cojoined twins
Cojoined twins

“The operation to separate a complete baby from the parasite was carried out on Wednesday,” he said adding that the other baby (parasite) was lost during the operation.

The parasite had only lower limbs, arms and legs without a trunk and a head.

Dr Alide said the operation also involved separating blood vessels and currently the wounds of the baby are healing properly.

Head of Surgery at the hospital Dr Carlos Valera said the despite the operation being challenging he was happy that the baby was responding well to the operation and was in stable condition.

The baby is currently under supervision at the hospital’s Ethel Mutharika Maternity Wing and the doctors expressed optimism that it would be discharged soon.

There were fears about the survival of the twins as immediately after their birth, Dr Alide said the hospital facility had no capacity to separate them.

He said specialists would only examine them to determine whether an operation could be conducted outside the country preferably in South Africa or India.

The operation comes at a time when the future of another pair of Siamese twins born on December 3 last year to a 24-year old Thyolo based woman, Tereza Jailosi, hangs in balance as they still await for assistance to travel abroad for their operation.

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