(Israel) – Soroka Medical Center of Israel reports that one-year-old conjoined twin girls underwent a rare separation surgery at Soroka Medical Center on Sept. 2, and were were released from the hospital on Oct. 21. Soroka Medical Center is the general hospital of Beersheva, Israel.
The twins, born at the hospital about a year earlier had been conjoined at the back of their heads, a condition termed Craniopagus twins.
Dr. Mickey Gideon, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Soroka Medical Center, led the separation surgery. The 12- hour surgery to separate was performed by the Soroka Medical Center’s medical staff in collaboration with international experts following months of preparation. Fifty Soroka medical profesionals were involved with the surgery.
“This is a rare and complex operation performed so far in the world only about 20 times and for the first time in Israel, and in this case in very young babies,” said Gideon.
The hospital had participated in intense preparations for the separation as well as in the actual procedures. In the first stage, the treatment team introduced skin and tissue expanders months prior to separation to stretch the skin to make it possible to close the scalps of the two girls after the operation. The multidisciplinary team, used three-dimensional (3-D) and virtual reality (VR) models to simulate the complexity of the connection of the blood vessels, meninges, skull bones and skin of the two girls, allowing dozens of simulated repetitions of the most complex aspects of the surgery to prepare. First, the separation of blood vessels and a separation of the bones was achieved. Next, the team divided into two to perform reconstruction of the skull and skin closure of each of the girls.
According to the hospital, after the surgery, the twins recovered well and without complications. Following the surgery, the twins spent a month in the pediatric intensive care unit for
monitoring and further treatment, and then stepped down to the surgery department until they were cleared.
When they left the hospital with their joyful parents to join their four siblings, Gideon reacted by saying, “This day is especially meaningful for me. Professionally, it was a significant milestone in the planning, execution, and implementation of an operation of a magnitude not previously seen in Israel and among the few in the world. Throughout this process, I established a profound bond with the twins and their family. The understanding that the complex procedures they underwent significantly affects their future strengthens me and all the teams that were partners in this extraordinary event.”
“They may later need additional surgeries, primarily aesthetic surgeries of the skull structure,” added Gideon.
Dr. Shlomi Codish, director of Soroka Medical Center, the largest general hopital in Israel, which provides services in the south of Israel to all residents from Kiryat Gat and Ashkelon to Eilat, stated, “Innovative technologies were deployed to perform such a rare and complex procedure. I am proud of the cooperation of all the medical divisions, sectors and employees who took part in such a complex process.
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