Conjoined twins separated at Rome paediatric hospital

17-month-old girls from Algeria doing well

(ANSA) - Rome, November 9 - Two 17-month-old conjoined twins from Algeria have been successfully separated at the Bambino Gesù paediatric hospital in Rome in a surgical operation lasting ten hours, it emerged on Thursday.
    The girls, Rayenne and Djihene, were joined at the chest and abdomen. The separation was performed on October 7 and the twins are said to be doing well.
    Five medical teams totalling 40 people were involved in the operation. This is the second time Siamese twins have been separated at the hospital owned by the Vatican but operating under the auspices of the Italian national health service.
    The first case dates to the early 1980s and relates to male twins also joined at the chest and abdomen.
    It is also one of very few separations performed in Italy. The recent operation was prepared over a period of 11 months using 3D models and prints of the twins.
    During surgery, a special time-saving procedure was used to halve their exposure to the general anaesthetic.
    A second couple of conjoined twins currently on the neonatal ward at Bambin Gesù are to be separated in the coming weeks. The girls are from Burundi and are joined at the buttocks area. Their hospitalisation and treatment, like that of the Algerian twins, comes under the auspices of the Vatican hospital's humanitarian mission. In 2016 approximately 50 pro bono cases were treated there. "Our heartfelt thanks to Pope Francis for the great opportunity he has given us for our girls," Rayenne and Djihene said during a press conference on Thursday. Generally speaking, 75% of Siamese twins do not survive due to the seriousness of their malformations.