British surgeons perform mammoth surgery on twins joined at the head

British surgeons have successfully separated Pakistani twins joined at the head.

Safa and Marwa are 21-month-old craniopagus twins. One in every 2.5 million births result in this rare condition, with most not surviving beyond 24 hours, the BBC reports. 

When the twins were three months old, the family were put in touch with Owase Jeelani, a paediatric neurosurgeon at Great Ormond Street in London. 

After seeing scans of the girls, the surgeon was convinced they can be safely separated. The family moved to UK in hopes to get the surgery underway. Ideally the surgery should’ve been done a year earlier but there were delays in finding a donor to pay the medical cost in UK.

Eventually a wealthy Pakistani businessman, Murtaza Lakhani, made an offer over the phone to meet the costs of their treatment.

They had three lots of major surgery, the final one taking place in February. 

The twins were successfully separated and their skulls were then reconstructed before the skin was stretched over their new skulls. 

For the first time in their two years of life, the survival of each sister is no longer dependent on the other.

The twins recovered in London hospital for five months. Both received daily physiotherapy to help them reach some basic milestones - learning to roll, sit and hold their heads up.

The girls have now been discharged from the hospital that has been their home for the past 11 months.

Mother Zainab Bibi was clear that separating the twins was the right thing to do despite the risks. “I am very happy. With God's grace I am able to hold one for an hour and then other one. God has answered our prayers.”