Conjoined twins successfully separated in life-changing Melbourne surgery

Life-changing surgery to separate conjoined Bhutanese twins Nima and Dawa in Melbourne has been successful.

A team of medical experts emerged from theatre on Friday afternoon after the six-hour procedure, proudly declaring that the 15-month-old girls, who were joined at the torso and shared a liver, had been separated.

The sisters are in recovery and breathing independently following the operation which involved a team of up to 25 surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists.

Head of paediatric surgery Dr Joe Crameri, who led the operation, said there had been no surprises, despite fears the girls' bowel may have been shared.

"We were very fortunate in that there wasn't any significant bowel attachment and while it was all swimming next to one another it wasn't actually connected in any major way," Dr Crameri told reporters.

"And really the main challenge today, as we thought was getting the abdomen reconstructed so that both areas were closed over."

Surgeons were also able to divide the liver without compromising the girls, and are hopeful they will not have to spend time in ICU.

"There will be challenges over the next 24 to 48 hours as with any surgery," Dr Crameri said.

"We feel quietly confident that we will have a good result and that is what I have just told mum upstairs.

"We have to closely monitor things for a while to ensure that we achieve our aim."

The sisters were brought to Australia with their mother Bhumchu Zangmo in October and have been staying at the Children First Foundation retreat in Kilmore.

Ms Zangmo was said to be "very relieved" by the result of the surgery.

The operation had previously been postponed after last-minute checks revealed the sisters were not ready.

The procedure and recovery are expected to cost at least $350,000 and the state government has offered to pay the bill.

Other funds raised will go towards the twins' rehabilitation and return home.


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