Doctors narrate 15-hour surgery of separating two co-joined twins.
Doctors from the Kenyatta National Hospital and the University of Nairobi managed to separate the conjoined twins in a historic 15-hour operation, with a team of 38 medical experts.
The boys, who were born four months ago in Bungoma County, were joined at the chest and abdomen and had been under observation since September last year.
The surgery was led by a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Joel Lessan and included 24 surgeons, including plastic and reconstructive surgeons, pediatric surgeons, nurses and cardiologists, as well as six nurses.
The twins had been diagnosed with Thoracobnominocophagus, a condition in which the twins are joined face to face at the chest and stomach.
The exact cause of conjoined twins is still unknown, but it is thought that genetic factors interacting with environmental factors may contribute to their development. Another possibility is the drugs used by the mother during pregnancy.
In this case, the twins shared a liver and had two hearts in one cavity, as well as chest bones and muscles.
According to Dr. Lessan, the decision to operate on the twins came after one of them suffered a heart attack, requiring quick but calculated intervention to save their lives.
Both children had multiple holes in their hearts, one with an abnormal blood vessel from the heart.
The twins also suffered a life-threatening infection at the age of two months which was detected and treated early enough.
Although the expected time for safe separation is six months, one of the twins has developed high pressure in the lungs, putting them at greater risk, including heart failure.
This caused the team to start planning to break up with only four months left. Last week the team managed to create flaps to cover the separation lines, but two days later one of the twins suffered a heart attack.
An emergency decision was made to separate the twins to avoid further cardiac arrest.
After the successful surgery on Sunday, the two babies are now being closely monitored and treated in the intensive care unit at KNH and are doing well.
The success of the surgery was attributed to the surgical skill, teamwork and dedication of the multidisciplinary team.
Good planning, expertise and careful preparation of the subspecialties were important factors in the success of the surgery.