Conjoined Bhutanese Twins Who Share Liver To Undergo Separation Surgery

Conjoined twins to undergo life-changing separation surgery at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital

The girls are expected to remain in hospital for at least a week, Crameri said.

Surgeons in Australia have begun separating conjoined twins from Bhutan in a delicate operation expected to last most of the day.

Bhutanese paediatric surgeon Dr Karma Sherub first campaigned to bring the twins to Australia with months of negotiation and fundraising by the Children First Foundation.

Fortunately it was found that the babies" bowels were a "bit intertwined" but otherwise not connected "in any major way'.

They headed into the theatre at 8am on Friday, with doctors administering the anaesthestic about 8.45am.

Elizabeth Lodge, chief executive of a charity that's assisting, says the girls' mother, Bhumchu Zangmo, was both nervous and happy about the operation to separate the twins.

Nima and Dawa face each other, and can not sit down together.

She spent Friday praying and meditating. "But we just did not know what we would find".

"She still has this extraordinary calmness about her, which is just incredible".

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Head of paediatric surgery Dr Joe Crameri, who led the operation, said there had been no surprises, despite fears the girls' bowel may have been shared.

Preliminary scans and tests had prepared the surgical team, which managed to carry out the entire operation in about six hours.

One of the biggest operating theatres was commandeered for the procedure, which involved two teams of anaesthetists - one for each sister.

The surgical team will also split in half once the initial separation is complete.

Dr Sherub first met the girls when they were only a day old and played a major role in getting the twins to Australia, having already spent time in the country as the victor of a medical scholarship.

"The muscles in their limbs have not been used so far, because they have not learnt to crawl and do the usual stuff kids at this stage do", Dr. Sherbub explained.

"Nima is just now trying to stand up and walk".

Nima and Dawa, and their mother Bhumchu Zangmo, arrived in Australia a month ago with the help of an Australian charity, but doctors had delayed the surgery until Friday to ensure the twins were well-enough nourished to support the operation.

Images shared by the Royal Children's Hospital show the girls lying on separate beds for the first time in their short lives.

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