Twins Joined at Head Successfully Separated After 50 Hours of Operations

July 16, 2019 Updated: July 16, 2019

A pair of Pakistani sisters who were conjoined at the head were separated after 50 hours of surgeries, it was reported.

The 2-year-old girls, Safa and Marwa Ullah, underwent surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, The Telegraph reported. They had three operations between October 2018 and February 2019. According to the hospital in a tweet, they left the facility in early July.

The girls’ mother, Zainab Bibi, 34, told the paper: “We are indebted to the hospital and to the staff and we would like to thank them for everything they have done.”

She continued that the family is “extremely excited about the future.”

As reported by The Guardian, the sisters were born blood vessels joined together and their skulls fused.

The hospital had to use virtual reality to create a replica of the girls’ anatomies and heads to visualize the structure of their skulls along with their blood vessels, the paper reported. They also used 3D printing to come up with plastic models of the girls’ heads for practice.

The surgeries were paid for by a private donor, the report noted. The Guardian also reported that one of the twins had a stroke during the surgery.

“We are delighted we have been able to help Safa and Marwa and their family. It has been a long and complex journey for them … Their faith and determination have been so important in getting them through the challenges they have faced. We are incredibly proud of them,” neurosurgeon Noor Ul Owase Jeelani and craniofacial surgeon David Dunaway told the news outlet.

“We are also incredibly proud of the GOSH team responsible for their treatment and care over the past 10 months. GOSH really is one of the few hospitals in the world with the infrastructure and expertise to carry out a separation like this successfully,” they added.

Great Ormond Street also posted a photo on Twitter showing the girls leaving on July 1.

As CNN reported, around two in five sets of craniopagus conjoined twins such as Marwa and Safa died during labor or are stillborn. Another third don’t survive the first day.

About 5 percent of conjoined twins are craniopagus cases.

A study from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Cook County Hospital said that conjoined twins who are joined at the head are found in one in every 2.5 million births.

Another Case in Bhutan

Several months ago, conjoined twins who received lifesaving surgery in Australia have returned home to Bhutan this month, according to reports.

Nima and Dawa Pelden, along with mother Bhumchu, arrived in Bhutan several weeks ago, CNN reported, citing the Children First Foundation (CFF), which funded their medical treatment. Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia located near China and India.

“To all the Australians near and far who sent me their love and support, you all gave me hope and put smile on my face while going through some terrible times,” Bhumchu stated via the CFF. “I just want to say, you guys are awesome.”

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