- A team of doctors in South Africa managed to separate a pair of conjoined twins
- The baby girls were three weeks old at the time of their intervention
- The operation lasted six hours
Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane, who were born as conjoined twins 3 weeks ago, were successfully separated, in an operation that lasted six hours at a hospital in South Africa.
The babies, who come from a family in Swaziland, weighed 4.21 kg together, and were born by C-section on January 2. They were joined at the lower abdomen, but each girl had its own heart and other vital organs. This circumstance greatly improved their chances of surviving the intervention.
These babies are not the first, but the second set of conjoined twins pediatric surgeons Dr Mariza de Villiers and Dr Paul Stevens have separated. They were also accompanied by a set of anesthetists, which was a key aspect to the success of the operation.
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The hospital explained in a statement that “there was a skin bridge between them”, which meant “there was sufficient skin to close the resultant surgical wound on each baby without the need for plastic surgery," as they stated.
The fact that the twins were conjoined facing each other, meant intubation was a very delicate process, which made this part “a great deal more complicated than usual,” as one of the doctors said. Just administering the anesthetic took more than three hours.
The girls' parents, Bongkile and Mbongeni, already have another set of twins boys, who are now two years old, and were born in perfect condition.