Marathan 40-hour operation on conjoined twins begins

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Bangalore, Nov 6 (UNI) Two-year-old conjoined twin Lakshmi began her quest for new life today, with a team of 36 doctors beginning a marathon operation to rid her of her headless twin having two pairs of parasitic arms and legs below the pelvis.

Specialists at Sparsh Hospital on the outskirts of the city who brought the baby from a poor household in the remote Rampur village on Bihar-Nepal border began the 40-hour-long operation.

Hospital Director Sharan Patil was leading the team of surgeons that included noted paediatric surgeon Dr Ashley D'Cruz and Plastic surgeon and reconstruction expert Dr Ashok Rajpal.

Lakshmi, an ischiopagus twin, had two bodies joined at her pelvis. Only one of the twins had a head, while the other was a parasite. Two pairs of legs and arms were formed at either end of the two adjoining torsos, thus appearing as a child with eight limbs. The incidence of conjoined twins was one in 50,000, while this kind of twins form only three per cent of all types of conjoined babies, Dr Patil said.

Dr Shweta Patil of the hospital told UNI that the condition of the baby was stable, with no complications so far.

''We are proceeding with the first stage of the surgery - to separate the parasitic parts. This is likely to be completed tonight. The second stage of pelvic reconstruction and skin cell replacement will be taken up tomorrow. The two stages of the surgery will be a continuous process,'' she said.

The baby's mother Poonam, who married Shambu six years ago, had given birth to Lakshmi, her second child, in her mother's home without any medical supervision. She did not receive any antenatal care too.

Lakshmi has one kidney in her body and the other in the body of the twin. The spinal cord runs through the other torso and has two excretory passages.

''The greatest challenge before us is to remove the extraneous parts and move all the structures up into Lakshmi without causing any harm to her vital organs,'' Dr Patil said.


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