Conjoined twins are twins whose organs are joined. These twins may share one or more organs with their twin - e.g brain, kidneys, liver, spinal cord or pelvis. Accordingly there are different types of conjoined twins named by the point at which their body organs are joined. Few of them are Thoraco - omphalopagus, Thoracopagus,Parasitic twins, Craniopagus, Cephalophagus, Syncephalus, Xiphopagus, Ischiopagus, Parapagus,Pygophagus, Rachipagus etc. Lets not delve deep into these different types of conjoined twins classifications. Some famous twins are the Chang brothers, Abigail and Brittany and few others. When a baby is born in a family, the family members face brims with joy and happiness. And especially when a twin is born its twice the happiness but for one family in Tanzania the news of the birth of the twins soon turn into sadness when they got to know that their twin boys were conjoined which is a rare condition found in 1 in 20000 births. A mother weaves lots of hopes and dreams about her baby from the time it is in its embryo stage. There was one such mother in Tanzania named Grace who gave birth to twin boys - Ericana and Eliudi. No doubt, even young Grace had lots of dreams about her babies. Ericana and Eludi are conjoined twins who have a conjoined spines, anus, penises and buttocs. They are Pygopagus twins who are conjoined at their buttocks because of which they even have a fused genitals. It is known that Pygopagus twins account for 17% of the total conjoined twin population in the world. Also as per research, most of the Pygopagus twins are usually female and male Pygopagus twins are rare. Out of 30 sets of Pygopagus twins only 4 were males.
Grace hails from Kasumulu - a small village in Tanzania. She was shifted to a District hospital from the dispensary in her village owing to the complications in her delivery. After extreme difficulty in delivering the babies out of the mothers womb, the doctors informed Grace that her twin boys were conjoined and joined at the back. She was further informed that the separation process could be an affair too risky. She was advised to seek assistance at the Mohimbili Hospital where the doctors contacted the Health officials for advise regarding further action. Surgery to separate conjoined twins could be simple to extremely complex but Grace wants to give her babies the best possible treatment and a better future. She got them to Apollo Hospitals at Chennai for this purpose. It all depends on the point of attachment and the organs which are shared. Such separation surgeries could be life threatening at times. Apollo Hospitals Chennai is associated with the Tanzanian government through the Save a child's heart initiative ( SACHI). At Apollo Hospital, it was discovered that the twins had a single phallus and a urinary passage which would complicate the entire process of surgical separation. 16th December 2013 would be a historic day in medical history where for the first time a team of highly qualified sugeons would operate on little Ericana and Eludi to separate them. Under the care and expertise of highly skilled surgeons, we just hope that the surgery is successful. A team of 20 doctors from specialities of neurosurgery, plastic surgery, paediatric surgery and pediatric urology will attempt the separation.Assistance of Dr. Edward Kiely and Dr. Richard Howard had also been sought for this historic surgery in India.This would be a rather unique and challenging aspect of the separation is the fused phallus, which has to be delicately separated to give each baby a functional penis. The plastic surgeons would slice the baby's fused genitals into two halves and reconstruct it. The plastic surgeon have said that over the last five months they have inserted tissue expanders in the back, buttocks and thighs so that skin flaps can be rotated to cover the large defects after separation.Every one has been showering love and affection on the babies. Lets be hopeful and pray that the rare of the rarest surgery is successful and we all await a good news on Monday, the 16th.The operation would be challenging and the doctors and the parents have requested for prayers. Lets all pray for Ericana and Eluidi.
Its already known about Apollo hospital's contribution to the medical field with its latest innovation.Lets pray that the Tanzania mother when returns back home holds her babies on either side. Lets pray for the little boys. They need prayers
Below is a picture of Ericana and Eliudi with their mother Grace.
|Ericana, Eliudi and mother Grace from Tanzania who are at the Apollo Hospital, Chennai for their separation surgery|
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