Doctors at the French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul have performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins in Afghanistan.
The twin sisters, Ayesha and Sidiqa, were conjoined at the abdomen – from the lower abdomen to the groin area – and shared an intestine until they underwent surgery as 17-day-olds.
The five-hour surgery to separate the sisters was performed on August 1, by a multidisciplinary team led by Dr Jalil Wardak, Head of Paediatric Surgery. The complicated operation to separate the girls and have them equally share an intestine involved paediatric surgeons, anaesthesiologists, radiologists and nurses.
The twins have responded well to the surgery.
“I am optimistic about their future. All the parameters are excellent, despite this being a complicated case,” said Dr Wardak.
Conjoined twins are identical twins joined at a very early stage of a pregnancy. A rare phenomenon, it is estimated to occur from 1 in 49,000 births to 1 in 189,000 births with a higher incidence in Southeast Asia and Africa. Surgery to separate conjoined twins can be difficult depending on the point of attachment and whether any organs are shared.
The relieved father, Haidar Mohammad, is a farmer from the small village of Shekhan, in Badakhshan province, about 300 km north of Kabul. He brought the girls to FMIC’s outpatient department from where they were admitted immediately to hospital.
“From the very beginning, I had been worried that this might be a dream,” said a grateful mother, Mahgul. But when I saw my two dear daughters peacefully sleeping in two separate beds, I realized that my dream has come true.”
This ground-breaking achievement was the result of concerted effort by an all-Afghan team of doctors and nurses. “I am proud of our team, who has done a wonderful job. It is good to give smiles to others, that is what we try to do here at FMIC,” concludes Dr Wardak.