A team of Ugandan Doctors have successfully operated on a set of Siamese Twins separating them in a 20-hour long surgery at the Mulago Specialized Hospital, the Ministry of Health announced yesterday 17th November, 2020.
The surgery is the first of its kind in the country and brings hope of ending the search for specialized treatment in other countries closer. The scientists addressed the media about this milestone at Mulago hospital.
Dr. Philis Khisa, one of the doctors involved in the operation said that the process started last week with an investigation technically known as scoping where they had to identify the exact organs that the twins shared. They found that while the vaginal opening was one, inside they had separate organs. Also, they found that the twins were conjoined at the pelvis, at the large bone called the sacrum.
Dr John Sekabira, a consultant paediatric surgeon who led the team told journalists yesterday afternoon that the Siamese twins’ rectum was fused at the end, they didn’t have a separate vagina, shared a urethra and the spinal code was joined at the tail end.
The operation that started at Midday on Monday ended at 9:00 am but doctors who conducted the surgery refer to it as one of the most complicated procedures which have to be done slowly and carefully since it also separating blood vessels.
Separation of the babies didn’t happen until 4 a.m, Dr Khisa says, adding that this is a major milestone as the children had been kept under monitoring since they were referred from Lira Hospital three days after birth through a Caesarean Section operation.
Sekabira says the babies are to remain admitted in the hospital for six months to one year as they await another surgery to correct other tissues like the reproductive system such that each can live healthily on their own.
However, conjoined twins especially in African countries like Uganda rarely survive and when they survive usually they don’t survive the surgery. Uganda’s first conjoined twins to survive were operated on seven years ago in a surgery that was conducted in Egypt.
The operation which is also the first to be conducted at the new super-specialized theatre facility has been conducted at a free charge in Mulago in their test running initiative before fully opening for other tertiary operations like organ transplants.