Craniopagus twins head home

A major achievement for the country, says Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

September 06, 2019 11:09 pm | Updated 11:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Gleeful moment: The toddlers were born with a fused brain and skull, a condition known as craniopagus.

Gleeful moment: The toddlers were born with a fused brain and skull, a condition known as craniopagus.

India’s only successfully separated craniopagus twins from Odisha — Jagga and Balia — were discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) here on Friday, two years after they were admitted, operated and started on rehabilitation at the hospital.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said: “This is a major achievement for the country. This is the rarest of the rare surgery and it can be called AIIMS Delhi Jagga and Balia craniopagus surgery.”

He said this was the first successful craniopagus conjoined twin separation surgery from India wherein both the children had survived.

“Worldwide only 10-15 children have survived after surgical separation of this condition in the last 50 years. All modern adjuncts of technology for surgical planning, 3D print model technology for brain and skull model development, venous bypass, staged surgeries and continuous post-operative care was provided by the craniopagus team of over 75 doctors and 50 nursing/support team staff at AIIMS,” Dr. Vardhan said.

On their way back to Odisha by rail, a team of three doctors (Deepak Gupta, neurosurgeon, Girija Rath, neuroanaesthetist, and Kiran Kumar, paediatrician) along with one nurse from AIIMS, Delhi will accompany the two children.

The two children will be initially kept in the SCB Medical College Cuttack for a few weeks for supportive care.

“The Odisha government has provided continuous support to these two children right from the time of their admission to AIIMS, New Delhi and will continue to do so,’’ the Minister said.

Dr. Deepak Gupta said: “The twins were admitted to the Department of Neurosurgery on July 14, 2017 and detailed planning for surgical separation was carried out on the twins totally fused to each other at head level by a team of 125 doctors and support team.’’

“Now, they are on rehabilitation and physiotherapy which will be monitored by doctors at the Cuttack Medical College,’’ he said.

The toddlers were born with fused brain and skull, a condition known as craniopagus.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said this case had also amply depicted that India was competent to perform such surgeries, and also that poor people from tribal regions from where the twin brothers hailed from, could also get the best medical care.

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