Swiss Surgeons Successfully Separate Twins Conjoined At Liver & Chest

Swiss Surgeons Successfully Separate Twins Conjoined At Liver & Chest


A set of highly experienced Swiss surgeons have successfully separated a pair of conjoined twins after a five-hour operation in Bern, Switzerland. According to The Sun, the operation which carried a 1 percent success rate, was carried out by five doctors and assisted by two nurses and six anaesthesiologists.

The conjoined identical baby girls who were fused at the liver and at the chest, were born eight weeks prematurely and both weighed 2.2kg, along with healthy triplet sister Kamilla in December 2015.

Report says the babies were stable after birth as resident doctors at the hospital took a decision to allow them to settle before proceeding with the planned separation after they had reached seven months of age.

The health of the conjoined twins however did not improve one week after birth as they were hit by light threatening conditions—one had too much blood and extremely high blood pressure, while the other did not have enough, according to The Sun.

The deteriorating conditions of the twins gave the doctors no other choice than to decide on surgery as that was the only chance they had at survival. It was a high risk surgery, one that had never been performed on infants at such age.

According to the lead surgeon at Geneva University Hospital, Barbara Wildhaber, separating the infants’ liver put them under serious pressure.

“We were prepared for the death of both babies, it was so extreme,” she admitted to Swiss paper Le Matin Dimanche.

“It was magnificent. I will remember it my entire career,” she gushed.

Head of paediatric surgery, Steffen Berger, praised the medical team that took part in the five-hour surgery: “The perfect teamwork of physicians and nursing personnel from various disciplines were the key to success here.

“We are very happy that the children and parents are faring so well now.”

According to Le Matin Dimanche, the twins have put on a significant amount of weight and started breast feeding since the complex surgery.

Maya and Lydia (the name of the twins) are believed to be among just 200 living, successfully separated conjoined twins all over the world, the paper reported.

The University of Maryland’s Medical Centre claims conjoined twins, also known as Siamese twins, are incredibly rare identical siblings occurring once in every 200,000 live births with their skin and internal organs fused together. Approximately half of conjoined twins are stillbirths, and the survival rate is between just between five and 25 percent.

Maya and Lydia are both in stable condition, and doctors who performed the surgery are said to be highly elated by the success of the operation, which has given hope and happiness to the parents of the twins.

Worthy of commendation is the doctor’s determination to succeed despite having only 1 percent chance of separating the conjoined twins. This gives doctors future hope that such operations can be carried out, though with the support of a highly experienced team; and of course, luck, which also played a very significant role in the success of the operation.