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Israeli conjoined twins joined at the head separated in 12-hour operation led by British doctor

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A British doctor successfully separated two twins by the head during mammoth surgery in Israel.

dr. Born in Kashmir, Noor Ul Owase Jeelani is considered a leading expert on conjoined twin separation and has spent the past six months working with an Israeli team to help the sisters.

The surgery took place at Soroka University Medical Center in the Israeli city of Beersheba and the twins are now expected to lead normal lives.

dr. Noor Ul Owase Jeelani, born in Kashmir, is considered a leading expert on separating conjoined twins

One-year-old Israeli twin girls born head and back can make eye contact for the first time after rare separation surgery

One-year-old Israeli twin girls born head and back can make eye contact for the first time after rare separation surgery

This photo shows the conjoined twins before they were separated by British surgeon Dr.  Noor ul Owase Jeelani during a rare 12 hour operation

The picture shows the twins after surgery

This photo shows the conjoined twins before they were separated (left) by British surgeon Dr. Noor ul Owase Jeelani during a rare 12-hour surgery. While the right image shows the twins after surgery

dr. Jeelani, who is Muslim, operated on the girls who are Jewish and said, ‘All children are the same regardless of color or religion.’

The pediatric neurosurgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital has previously performed four separation surgeries on conjoined twins.

Together with fellow Professor David Dunaway, both surgeons are considered leading experts in such procedures.

In each case, the children were connected at the head with entangled brains, shared blood vessels and fused skulls.

Due to the complexity of the surgery, doctors had to begin preparations months before the girls were brought to the operating table

Due to the complexity of the surgery, doctors had to begin preparations months before the girls were brought to the operating table

Due to the complexity of the surgery, doctors had to begin preparations months before the girls were brought to the operating table

Due to the complexity of the surgery, doctors had to begin preparations months before the girls were brought to the operating table

To conduct the procedure in Israel, Dr. Jeelani reportedly set to operate outside the UK for the first time.

As a Muslim, the doctor said it was “fantastic” to scrub with Israeli medics and help a Jewish family.

He added: ‘A child is a child. From a doctor’s point of view we are all one.’

The doctor said he had been preparing for surgery on the Israeli twins for about six months.

He told The times of Israel: “We have been involved from the beginning, talking to the team in Israel and planning with them for a period of six months.”

The twins, who were born in August 2020, were head-jointed and facing away from each other, meaning they could never have looked at each other.

“This was a rare and complex operation that has only been performed 20 times worldwide and now for the first time in Israel,” said Mickey Gideon, Soroka’s chief pediatric neurosurgeon.

One of the conjoined twins is seen sleeping here after being separated from her twin sister by the British surgeon

One of the conjoined twins is seen sleeping here after being separated from her twin sister by the British surgeon

The other twin sleeps with a bandage on her head after 12-hour surgery in Israel

The other twin sleeps with a bandage on her head after 12-hour surgery in Israel

“To our delight, everything went as we hoped.”

The complexity of the surgery meant that doctors had to begin preparations months before the girls were taken to the operating table.

First, a 3D virtual reality model of the twins was constructed to allow doctors to study the intricacies of the surgery and map out the best course of action.

Inflatable silicone bags were then inserted into the twins’ heads and expanded periodically over the course of several months before surgery to stretch their skin.

This excess skin was essential for sealing the incisions in the heads of each scalp graft twins after they were separated and their skulls reconstructed.

The twins have not yet been identified, but images published in Israeli media show them wearing bandages around their heads and staring into each other’s eyes.

“Any wrong decision can be the difference between life and death,” said Dr. Lazar, director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Soroka University Medical Center.

“It was so delicate because the surgery was done between the large blood vessels in the babies’ heads. We all knew that any bleeding could have catastrophic consequences,” he told the Times of Israel.

This photo shows the surgeons performing the procedure to separate conjoined twins at the Soroka Medical Center in Israel

This photo shows the surgeons performing the procedure to separate conjoined twins at the Soroka Medical Center in Israel

A close-up of one of the screens used by the medical team during a procedure to separate conjoined twins at Soroka Medical Center in Israel can be seen here

A close-up of one of the screens used by the medical team during a procedure to separate conjoined twins at Soroka Medical Center in Israel can be seen here

Lazar said the twins were transferred to the ICU after surgery, where they were sedated and placed on ventilators while they recovered.

Kamal Rahman, one of the founders of Gemini Untwined, added: “It’s exciting that we have now helped three families from different countries with this life-changing operation.”

Mr Rahman said the prevalence of conjoined twins is higher in less developed communities where there is little fetal monitoring, which is where charities such as Gemini Untwined can help.

He said: ‘Gemini not only wants to provide research and technical support to the local medical teams, but also financial support to facilitate the complex surgery and post-operative rehabilitation where needed.

“We are currently supporting other families who are in this challenging situation.”

It is estimated that fifty such sets of craniopagus conjoined twins are born each year around the world, which are connected at the head. Only 15 of them are thought to survive after the first 30 days of life.

With current technologies, aiming to make charity more accessible, about half of these cases would be candidates for successful surgical separation

“They are recovering well. They breathe and eat on their own,” Eldad Silberstein, the head of Soroka’s plastic surgery department, told Israel’s Channel 12 news.

Siamese twins

  • Conjoined twins, also known as conjoined twins, are a very rare phenomenon.
  • Conjoined twins are born with their bodies connected in some way, with varying degrees of severity.
  • There are competing theories about how the phenomenon takes place, but many believe that conjoined twins are the result of an “embryonic cleavage”: when an embryo that divides to form twins in the womb does not completely separate.
  • The life expectancy of conjoined twins is significantly lower than that of completely separated twins. About 50% of conjoined twins are stillborn, while another third die within 24 hours.
  • Of the conjoined twins that survive, the majority are female, with a ratio of 3:1.
  • Figures from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) show about one incidence of conjoined twins per 250,000 births.
  • Of the three quarters of a million births that occur in the UK each year, only three are conjoined twins.

Source: University of Maryland, eMedicine, Great Ormond Street Hospital

Senegalese conjoined twins who were brought to the UK in 2017 to undergo life-saving treatment began their primary education in Cardiff earlier this year.  The twins were expected to die shortly after birth, but despite sharing a liver, bladder and digestive system, they survived.

Senegalese conjoined twins who were brought to the UK in 2017 to undergo life-saving treatment began their primary education in Cardiff earlier this year. The twins were expected to die shortly after birth, but despite sharing a liver, bladder and digestive system, they survived.

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