Amazing Surgical Operation

On Thursday, for the first time in Israel, doctors performed a remarkable, rare operation to separate twins who were attached at the back of their heads.

It took twelve hours of work by dozens of medical staff at Soroka-University Medical Centre in Beersheba. The one-year-old girls were born in the same hospital last August.

Dr Mickey Gideon, director of paediatric neurosurgery at Soroka, said:

“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.
The next few days will be critical in the process of the twins’ recovery.”

It was literally a ‘life or death’ operation, and the successful outcome means that both babies are likely to live completely normal lives from now on.

Dr Isaac Lazar spoke of the remarkable moment on Sunday when the two girls looked at each other for the first time, after a year of being connected in a way that meant they could not see each other.

“When the nurses brought the babies together, newly separated,
they looked at each other, made noises, and gently touched each other —
it was beautiful. You could see the communication between them,
and it was just so special.”

The local team at Soroka Medical Centre in Beersheba were led by Dr Noor ul Owase Jeelani, a consultant paediatric neurosurgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, and his team from medical charity Gemini Untwined, which was founded in 2018.

That team has now completed five separation surgeries since 2006, two of them before Gemini Untwined was set up.

Dr Jeelani said he was delighted that the surgery went well and the girls, their family and the local team have a good outcome:

“It is through this process of teamwork and knowledge-sharing globally
that we can hope to improve the outcome for all children and families
that find themselves in this difficult position.”

Kamal Rahman, one of his colleagues, added:

“It’s exciting that we have now helped three families from different countries
with this lifechanging surgery.”