IMAGE: Facebook/American Friends of Soroka Medical Center
Medics in Israel have separated one-year-old twins conjoined by the back of their heads in a highly complicated and rare surgical procedure, making the sibling see each other for the first time. The 12-hour long operation was conducted at Soroka Medical Centre Beersheba on Sep. 5 by dozens of health experts and is just one of 20 such total operations performed worldwide. “For the first time in Israel, Soroka’s team performed a rare operation separating one-year-old conjoined twins,” the American Friends of Soroka Medical Center wrote in a Facebook post, sharing the footage of the complex operation.
“This is a very rare operation, performed so far in the world only about 20 times and for the first time in Israel in one-year-old babies, one of the youngest in which this procedure was performed,” said Dr. Mickey Gideon, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Soroka. “The next few days will be critical in the process of the twins’ recovery,” he added.
The twin girls conjoined from the back of their heads suffered a rare medical condition and are commonly referred to as ‘craniopagus twins’. Craniopagus twins are conjoined twins that are fused at the cranium and occur in about 10–20 babies in every million births in the US. The Craniopagus twins, joined at the head, are a rarity — one in 2.5 million and sometimes share the same brain. The babies were born in the hospital last August. Surgeons used advanced equipment and medical technology to perform rare surgery and some of the devices were brought to the hospital especially for the procedure, including 3D modelling, virtual reality, and special monitoring devices.
[VR model Surgical theatre. Credit: Soroka University Medical Center]
Doctors used STRATASYS, 3D4OP 3D models based on images from MRI, CT, and angiography scans that simulated the blood vessels, meninges, skull bones, and skin of the twins, according to the local broadcaster The Jerusalem Post. Surgeons used a VR model called Surgical Theater multiple times to practice the simulation of the procedure to make it more accurate before the operation was performed on the twins.
[Twins separated in complex surgery in Israel. Credit: Soroka University Medical Center]
[Credit: Soroka University Medical Center]