Surgery to separate formerly conjoined 14-month-old twins Nima and Dawa Pelden at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital has been a success.
- Nima and Dawa were joined at the lower chest to just above the pelvis
- A team of paediatric surgeons took about six hours to separate the girls
- The surgery had been delayed for several weeks until the twins grew stronger
The surgery started about 8:30am (AEDT) and was carried out by four surgeons and a team of about 18 people.
The girls, who come from Bhutan, were joined from the lower chest to just above the pelvis and shared a liver.
The complex operation took about six hours.
Lead paediatric surgeon Joe Crameri said the operation was shorter than expected and the twins were “doing very well”.
“There weren’t any things inside the girls’ tummies that we weren’t really prepared for,” Dr Crameri said.
“We saw two young girls who were very ready for their surgery, who were able to cope very well with the surgery and are currently in our recovery doing very well.
“We didn’t find surprises, we knew the liver would be connected … it was divided successfully without any major bleeding.”
The girls are breathing independently after what surgeons said was “an enormous day” for all involved.
Dr Crameri thanked the surgical team, and said the twins’ mother, Bhumchu Zangmo, was “smiling, very happy and grateful”.
The surgery had been 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 funded their flights and surgery.
Before today’s operation, a spokesperson said the girls had been enjoying themselves, playing with other children and singing songs, but that their mother was ready for the surgery to get underway.
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.”