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Stage one to separate Laleh and Ladan conjoined twins begins

The first stage of the historic operation to separate conjoined Iranian twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani began Saturday with doctors carrying out final radiologic tests to map out the pattern of blood flow in their brain, IRNA reported from Kuala Lumpur.

Surgeons in Singapore on Sunday will start operating on Laleh and Ladan in the world's first attempt to separate adult twins joined at the head.

Led by prominent French neuroradiologist Dr Pierre Lasjaunias, the team has repeated detailed scans of their brain to reconfirm the vascular anatomy of their head and neck, said Raffles Hospital in a statement on Saturday.

Dr Lasjaunias is one of six international experts that have flown to Singapore over the past two days to participate in this unprecedented surgery.

"The team will also carry out an endovascular balloon occlusion test to identify alternative blood channels to determine if a bypass is necessary," the hospital said.

The first stage to separate the twins is expected to last five hours. The entire operation is expected to last at least 48 hours.

The international medical team includes world renowned neurosurgeon Dr Ben Carson from the United States, vascular neurosurgeon Dr Kenji Ohata from Japan, neurosurgeon Dr Basant Pant from Nepal and cranio-facial plastic surgeons Dr Dennis Rohner and Dr Beat Hammer from Switzerland.

The international experts have been in intensive consultations with Singapore specialists led by Raffles Hospital consultant neurosurgeon, Dr Keith Goh, and medical director and consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Professor Walter Tan.

Dr Ben Carson, who met Ladan and Laleh in their room on Friday, was optimistic about the surgery. He told them: "Rest assured, we're all here (Singapore) to help you. Please stay positive."

According to Dr Carson, Ladan and Laleh were visibly nervous as the big day approached, but were reassured by his calming presence.

Dr Carson will be part of a team of neurosurgeons who will start the neurosurgical separation on Sunday morning.

The team of 28, comprising five neurosurgeons, six plastic surgeons, a vascular surgeon, five radiologists, nine anaesthetists and intensive care specialists, one internist and a psychiatrist, are supported by about 100 nursing and paramedical staff.

Meanwhile, the Iranian community in Singapore have donated blood for the conjoined twins Laleh and Ladan before operation that is to separate them.

Cecilia Tan, director of the Blood Donors Programme of the Singapore Red Cross Society, told IRNA here that "the Iranian community has actually come forward and we explain to them that we do not practise directed donations here in Singapore and if they donate blood, the blood will go to the Blood Bank, into the common pool supply. They understand this."

IRNA understands the twins need about 10 pints of blood for the surgery.

In fact, the Blood Bank says Ladan and Laleh had already donated their own blood in case it is needed for their surgery or during recovery.

To thank the public for their support and well wishes, the Bijani sisters have signed 20 cards to be given to anyone who goes to the Blood Bank to donate blood.

... Payvand News - 7/5/03 ... --

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