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Joy as KNH doctors separate conjoined twins after 15-hour surgery

A team of multi-disciplinary medical experts at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) on Sunday successfully separated a pair of conjoined twins during a 15-hour complex surgery.

A pair of male conjoined twins were born four months ago in Bungoma County.

The country’s largest referral hospital said the 15-hour procedure was carried out without any major complications through a statement sent to newsrooms on Monday.

It took about 38 medical experts from the KNH and the University of Nairobi to perform the highly complex medical procedure.

The team consisted of plastic and reconstructive surgeons, paediatric surgeons, anaesthetists, cardiothoracic specialists and six nursing officers.

Also read: Separated conjoined twins celebrate third birthday

The twins, now lying at KNH Intensive Care Unit (ICU), under close monitoring and treatment, are progressing well and had to undergo several surgeries, including; a heart, bone, skin, liver, several muscles, peritonia, and the chambers that encase the heart.

“We’ve been dealing with two kids who had abnormalities on the heart independently. They were joined in the abdomen, which means that apart from the liver joining the two, the muscles and the skin were being shared,” said Dr Joel Lessan, a paediatric surgeon from the University of Nairobi who led the team.

The twins were joined at the chest and abdomen and have been under observation since September last year.

Doctors described their condition as ‘Thoracobnominocophagus’, where twins are joined face to face at the chest and abdomen.

Also read: IN PHOTOS: The historic separation of the Kenyan conjoined twins

The twins shared one liver and the doctors had to carefully separate them to ensure each child gets just enough to sustain their body. It took about three and a half hours.

The hospital has another pair of conjoined twins whose fate of separation is still pending the clinicians’ approval.

Conjoined twins are the result of embryo cells that have not completely separated. Embryo cells develop when the egg (ovum) is fertilized by sperm. They multiply and differentiate to form different body organs and tissues.

An alternative theory is that two separate embryos fuse in the early development of twins.

The exact cause of conjoined twins is unknown, but it’s thought that genetic factors

interacting with environmental ones may contribute.

Also read: Kenyan mother’s joy as conjoined two-year-old twins are separated – PHOTOS