Conjoined Twin Girls Have Been Separated After 50 Hours Of Surgery
Conjoined twin sisters Safa and Marwa Ullah have been living with their skulls and blood vessels fused together since their birth two years ago, but following a 50-hour surgery, the girls have finally been separated.
Safa and Marwa, from Charsadda in Pakistan, were born by caesarean in 2017 and have undergone three major operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London to separate their heads since October 2018, with the final successful operation taking place on 11th February this year.
To ensure the operations went smoothly, virtual reality was used to create an exact replica of the girls' anatomies to allow surgeons to visualise the complex structure of their skulls as well as the positioning of their brains and blood vessels.
3D plastic models were also used for surgeons to practice on.
In a surgery that has created waves throughout the industry, doctors then worked to separate the girls' blood vessels before inserting a piece of plastic into their heads to keep the brains and blood vessels apart. The final operation involved medics building new skulls using the girls' own bone.
The operations - which were paid for by a private donor - added up to more than 50 hours of surgery time and saw 100 members of staff from GOSH assist.
Luckily, the twins have now been discharged and moved to a London address with their mother Zainab Bibi, 34, their grandfather Mohammad Sadat and uncle, Mohammed Idrees. Sadly the girls' father died of a heart attack while their mother was pregnant with them.
"We are indebted to the hospital and to the staff and we would like to thank them for everything they have done. We are extremely excited about the future," said Zainab.
Neurosurgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani added: "We are delighted we have been able to help Safa and Marwa and their family. It has been a long and complex journey for them and for the clinical team looking after them."
"GOSH really is one of the few hospitals in the world with the infrastructure and expertise to carry out a separation like this successfully," he added.
Though conjoined twins are very rare, affecting only about one in every 2.5 million births, GOSH has previously successfully separated craniopagus twins twice before in 2006 and 2011.
Featured Image Credit: Great Ormond Street Hospital