Conjoined twin baby girls have been successfully separated following an extremely rare and complex operation performed by surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Rital and Ritag, born in Khartoum, Sudan, were craniopagus twins, meaning they were joined at the head. The sisters will celebrate their first birthday this month – a welcomed celebration after their surgery, which was completed on August 15.
Their condition, classified as Total Type III Craniopagus twins, served surgeons with an especially difficult challenge because a large amount of blood flowed between the twins’ brains.
“The task presented innumerable challenges,” said David Dunaway, a surgeon in the plastic surgery and craniofacial unit who led the separations of the girls, BBC wrote.
Doctors on the case stated half the blood supplied to Rital’s brain came from her sister, who also drained most of it back to her heart. According to the surgeons, Ritag did most of the work and the situation was critical because considerable drops in brain blood pressure can cause severe neurological damage.
However, British Charity Facing the World, which funded the operation, said the twins did not appear to be suffering any neurological side effects.
Their parents, Enas Gaboura, 27, and father Abdelmajeed Gaboura, 31, who are both doctors, had asked the UK charity to organize and fund their daughters’ separation.
In April, the family flew to London and the twins were admitted to Great Ormond Street when Ritag’s heart began to fail.
The 11-month-old girls endured four operations: two were performed in May following the insertion of tissue expanders in July, and the final separation in August.
"Within days the twins were back on the general ward interacting and playing as before. Their laughter and delight in the world has been an inspiration throughout the months of worry," Facing the World said in a statement.
Adding, "Very soon, their parents will be able to fulfill their dream of taking home two healthy, separate daughters.”
The Gabouras were very appreciative and said in a statement: “We are very thankful to be able to look forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls."
According to experts, the odds of craniopagus twins surviving past early infancy are a one-in-10 million occurrence. Rital and Ritag have defied unbelievable odds.