KNH surgeons successfully separate conjoined twins

Kenya is the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to successfully separate sarcophagus twins. The twins, who were born on September 4, 2014, shared the anal canal. They were conjoined in the lower region of the spine.

The delicate procedure that took 23 hours ended yesterday morning at 5am at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

“We did the surgery in three stages — to separate, to close the wounds and to create stomachs for them,” Head of paediatric surgery Fred Kabuni said hours after the surgery.

The twins had lived together for two years and two months. They will also undergo four more reconstructive surgeries after their wounds have healed.

“We have successfully separated the babies, but we still have a lot of reconstruction to do. We must reconstruct the anal again so they each have the capacity to pass their individual stool.

Their genitalia and skin defect will be reconstructed as well.” Kabuni said. The two became conjoined during their formation in their mother’s womb.

“When they were being separated, one area got stuck. This is the area where one passes stool. Each of them had a rectum and a spinal cord,” surgeon Nimrod Wang’ombe said.

The twins will be monitored for one month to check on their progress.

They are still in the ICU. Specialists involved in the surgery included plastic surgeons, anaesthetists, neurosurgeons reconstructive surgeons and nurses.

Kabuni said they waited for two years to perform the surgery to allow development of key organs and muscles.

“Surgery of this nature is a clear manifestation that conjoined twins in this country and our neighbouring countries do not have to travel overseas for the service,” acting KNH CEO Thomas Mutie said. “It is testimony the country is endowed with medical specialists who can handle human health problems.”


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