Two conjoined twins survived birth and separation! Hassan and Boubacar, Guinean Siamese twins, were successfully separated during intensive surgery last week at the Necker Hospital in Paris, France. They were born on 12 January at Donka University Hospital of Conakry in Guinea. Joined at the abdomen, they shared a common digestive organ system, liver and a piece of small intestine. The media followed the incredible journey of the two small babies and their mother, Fatoumata for months.
June 3 rd, 2015
Surprise at birth
This was the first recorded Siamese birth in the Republic of Guinea. When Fatoumata arrived at the hospital to deliver her babies, everyone expected twins. The mother explained that everything was going fine when the midwife screamed in surprise that it was conjoined twins! The exceptional birth quickly spread throughout the country. The nurse, however, skilfully managed to deliver the babies by natural means. The Guinean team masterfully handled the birth to avoid transfusion by reducing risk and facilitating treatment.
Unfortunately, no nearby hospital or neighbouring country could perform the necessary operation to separate the two little brothers. With a show of solidarity, organised by The Chain of Hope founded in 1994 by Professor Alain Deloche, the mother of the two babies finally received financial assistance for the babies to undergo surgery at the Necker Hospital in Paris.
Performed by a multidisciplinary team composed of seven surgeons, the operation began at 8 a.m. on May 26 and lasted the entire day. Hassan was out of surgery at 5 p.m. and Boubacar joined him an hour later. Professor Yves Aigrain, who led the surgery, said that he had a similar experience seven years ago with three pairs of conjoined twins, according to Obs. The four surgeons and three plastic surgeons knew the job wouldn’t be easy with a 30 centimetre stretch of small intestine. But after a successful and intensive operation, Hassan and Boubacar have a better future awaiting them. They are both in good health and they can return to their home in the suburbs of Conakry to join their siblings.
How do Siamese twins form?
According to information from the Public Hospital of Paris released in 2009, cases of Siamese twins are extremely rare. Siamese twins are mostly girls and occur at a rate of about one pregnancy out of 50,000 to 100 000. Siamese babies are formed by matter of timing during the embryo development when the egg is accidentally split early in the pregnancy. Thus, either the twins each have their own placenta or they share the same placenta or they share common organs.
Survival of Siamese twins during childbirth is also very rare. After childbirth, surgery depends on the organs in common, according to Professor Chardot, paediatric surgeon at the Necker Hospital. If a combined organ can be divided to create two functional ones, the operation is possible. Each Siamese baby is different and surgeons have to adapt the strategy and proceedings based on shared organs. For instance, it is obvious when conjoined babies are joined by the head, he concluded.
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