Iran News ...


7/2/03

Iranian conjoined twins to undergo separation surgery on Sunday

Singapore's Raffles Hospital is ready to proceed with the unprecedented operation on Sunday to separate Laleh and Ladan Bijani, the 29-year-old Iranian twins who are conjoined at the head, IRNA reported from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In doing so, they will become the first pair of craniopagus twins in the world to undergo surgical separation as adults.

Codenamed "Operation Hope," the endeavor underlines the belief that it is possible for the Bijani twins to live independent lives.

In a statement faxed to IRNA here on Wednesday, the hospital said that leading the core team of 12 surgeons, eight anaesthetists, and four radiologists, as well as about 100 medical support staff are Raffles Hospital's consultant neurosurgeon, Dr Keith Goh, and consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon and medical director, Professor Walter Tan.

The core team will comprise six international experts and 18 Singaporean specialists.

Among the international surgeons is world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr Benjamin Carson.

Dr Carson, 52, is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. He has been involved in three operations of twins joined at the head, including the successful separation of a pair of seven-month-old German craniopagus twins in 1987.

His field of practice includes traumatic brain injuries, brain and spinal cord tumors, neurological and congenital disorders and epilepsy.

Other members of the international medical team include prominent interventional neuro-radiologist Dr Pierre Lasjaunias from France, vascular neurosurgeon Dr Kenji Ohata from Japan, neurosurgeon Dr Basant Pant from Nepal, and craniofacial plastic surgeons Dr Dennis Rohner and Dr Beat Hammer, both from Switzerland.

Dr Loo Choon Yong, chairman of Raffles Hospital, said: "We have put together an international team of experts who will give Ladan and Laleh the best possible chance."

The operation is expected to last for at least 48 hours.

The twins will walk into the operating theater and undergo surgery in a seated position, the hospital said.

Special operating equipment such as a custom-built operating table for the sitting position, special heart monitors and a computerized image-guidance system will be used in the surgery.

The operation will require a three-step approach beginning with tests to determine the pattern of blood flow in the veins, splitting up the brain, and reconstructing their skulls using muscle and skin grafts.

The twins are looking forward to being able to lead separate lives, with Ladan hoping to become a lawyer and Laleh wanting to be a journalist.

In a letter released by the hospital, the twins said, "We have been praying every day for our operation. We are excited about it, as we've waited 29 years for it!"

"Both of us have started on this journey together and we hope that the operation will finally bring us to the end of this difficult path, and we may begin our new and wonderful lives as two separate persons," they said.

They told reporters recently that the first thing they wish to do after they have been separated is to look directly at each other's face without having to use a mirror as in the past.

The two sisters have tried for years to persuade doctors to attempt the procedure without success. German doctors concluded in 1996 that surgery could kill one or both of the sisters because they share a vein that feeds blood to their brains.

Last year, doctors in Singapore said they believed the surgery was possible but that the decision whether or not to go through with it would be left to the twins.

The sisters arrived in Singapore November 20 last year from their home in Iran to undergo medical and psychological evaluations.

... Payvand News - 7/2/03 ... --



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