The nine-month-old Tanzanian boys are recovering at a city hospital’s ICU

Nine-month-old male pygopagus twins Ericana and Eluidi from Tanzania will be able to look at each other for the first time since birth in a few days from now.

The twins, who were conjoined at the tail-end of the spine and separated after a 13-hour-long surgery on December 16, have been taken off the ventilator and are recovering in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Apollo Speciality Hospitals, Vanagaram.

“The twins are on beds opposite each other in the same ward. They will see each other for the first time in a few days,” said Venkata Sripathi, senior consultant-paediatric urologist, Apollo Children’s Hospital, on Thursday.

Their mother, Grace, had travelled to Chennai along with the twins from Kasumulu, a small village in Tanzania, in June. After months of detailed investigations and preparations, a team of doctors drawn from various specialties performed the surgery. The separation took 13 hours, while the reconstruction took about five hours, he said.

The surgery included separation of the spine, fused phallus, urinary bladder and urethra followed by reconstruction of the pelvic floor around the rectum and anus.

Indira Jayakumar, paediatric intensivist, said the first 12 hours after surgery were quite stormy with Ericana having high blood pressure and Eluidi having low BP and low blood sugar levels. “Ericana was taken off ventilator support on Wednesday, and Eluidi, on Thursday. They are on pain killers and are feeding well. They will be in the ICU for four to five days,” she said.

Dr. Sripathi said Ericana was the dominant twin, and Eluidi was the dependent one.

“The babies will be nursed in close proximity as they will be distressed if they are not together. They will be discharged after three or four weeks and will come back for check-up,” he said.

Edward Kiely, paediatric and neonatal surgeon from Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, who guided the surgical team, said he expected normal bladder function for the babies.

After the surgery, fear gave way to joy for the 20-year-old mother of the twins. As she spoke in Swahili, her interpreter Daniel said people in her village thought the twins were conjoined because of a curse.

“I am happy the surgery was successful,” she said.

Prathap C. Reddy, chairman of Apollo Group of Hospitals, said this was the second milestone for the hospital after taking the global lead in solid organ transplants this year.

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