Formerly conjoined toddlers return home to Pakistan following UK surgery, recovery

Twin girls who were born joined at the head are preparing to return home to Pakistan following a successful operation at a London hospital last year.

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The two girls are headed home to Pakistan following recovery from the 50 hours of surgery last year. Source: BBC

Safa and Marwa Bibi, aged three and a half, were separated in February 2019 following three major surgeries totaling more than 50 hours, the BBC reports.

The girls' mother, Zainab Bibi, said the pair "are doing very well" after months of specialist care.

"Marwa has made good progress and only needs a little support," Bibi said. "We will keep an eye on Safa and take good care of her. God willing, both will start walking."

Conjoined twins are extremely rare, with one in 20 being joined at the head with a fused skull. 

A team of 100 people at Great Ormond Street Hospital were involved in their care.

The team were left with the difficult decision in theatre to decide who would receive key blood vessels, which had been shared by the pair and nourished both brains. They ultimately went to Marwa, the weaker twin, resulting in Safa suffering a stroke.

Safa now has permanent brain damage and may never walk again.

Lead surgeon Owase Jeelani said while he was pleased for the family, the surgeries may not have been the right decision for Safa "as an individual". 

Jeelani said the the outcome could have been more favourable for the pair had they been separated earlier.