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[PICS] CT neurosurgeon who separated rare conjoined twins opens up about surgery

12 May 2021 11:19 AM
Tags:
Conjoined twins
Conjoined twins separeated
Red Cross Children’s Hospital
Prof Tony Figaji

Pediatric neurosurgeon Prof Tony Figaji says it was extremely rewarding to have helped successfully separate the conjoined twin girls earlier this year.
A set of conjoined twins successfully underwent separation surgery on 24 February 2021. Image: Western Cape Government Health

A set of conjoined twins are healthy and healing after successfully undergoing separation surgery in February at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town.

Siphosethu and Amahle were born in the Eastern Cape and taken to Red Cross Children’s Hospital at only 4 days old.

Professor Tony Figaji, head of paediatric neurosurgery at the hospital, says it's gratifying to know that the girls will go on to thrive and live independent lives thanks to the surgery.

Being able to separate them so that two human beings can go on to live independent, successful and fulfilling lives is enormously satisfying.

Professor Tony Figaji, Head of Neurosurgery - Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital
A set of conjoined twins successfully underwent separation surgery on 24 February 2021. Image: Western Cape Government Health

Prof Figaji explains that the twins were joined at the head in what is medically referred to as craniopagus twinning.

He says being joined at the head is the rarest form of conjoined twinning and very high risk.

Thankfully, however, the girls did not share any brain tissue or major blood vessels, Figaji tells CapeTalk.

A set of conjoined twins successfully underwent separation surgery on 24 February 2021. Image: Western Cape Government Health

Each twin had a full medical team for the surgery, comprising of an anaesthetist, neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, and nurses.

The surgery itself took less than two hours, which contributed to the successful recovery of the twins.

We put more planning into the surgery than the actual surgery itself took... The actual separation went quite quickly. It was less than two hours.

Professor Tony Figaji, Head of Neurosurgery - Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital

We are anticipating that they will have completely normal developmental outcomes... and develop as normal separate children.

Professor Tony Figaji, Head of Neurosurgery - Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital

It's been 50 years since a case of conjoined twins was brought to the Red Cross hospital, Figaji says.

According to the professor, conjoined twins occur once in every 200,000 live births. Of those, nearly half of them stillborn.

Of the ones who survive the birth, another half don't make it through the surgery, he adds.

Siphosethu and Amahle will return to Red Cross Children’s Hospital in the coming weeks for a follow-up.

Their mother, Ntombikayise Tyhalisi, is overjoyed that she can now hold her children one in each arm.

A set of conjoined twins successfully underwent separation surgery on 24 February 2021. Image: Western Cape Government Health

Being joined at the head is the rarest case but it's the worst case.

Professor Tony Figaji, Head of Neurosurgery - Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital

Conjoined twins may be joined in different ways - joined at the head is the rarest form but they can be joined at the chest, at the abdomen, the hip, and the back.

Professor Tony Figaji, Head of Neurosurgery - Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital

There are different theories about how conjoined twins develop but most likely it's because there's one fertilised egg that doesn't split completely.

Professor Tony Figaji, Head of Neurosurgery - Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital

Listen to Prof Tony Figaji on CapeTalk:




12 May 2021 11:19 AM
Tags:
Conjoined twins
Conjoined twins separeated
Red Cross Children’s Hospital
Prof Tony Figaji

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