AIIMS to separate 2-year-old twins joined from head

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AIIMS to separate 2-year-old twins joined from head

Born in a farmer's family, the Odisha two-year-old conjoint twins are striving for a normal life. AIIMS doctors though have accepted the challenge of this highly sensitive case, but say that it's a long road for the kids.

Twins Jagga and Baliya, aged two years and three months, are striving for a normal life just like other kids. The toddlers are joined from their heads by birth. In medical term, kids with such sort of deformity are known as 'craniopagus conjoint twins' - an extremely rare condition found in 1 in 2.5 million births. The twins - Jagannath and Balram - hail from Kandhamal district in Odisha.

They were born to a farmer's family that has disposed all faith in doctors, who they believe would surely separate the kids successfully. "We have come all the way from Odisha with a hope that the lives of our children will be transformed after a surgery. The rest is up to God," Puspa Kanhara, the mother of the little ones said.

This highly challenging case has been referred to All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) from Bhubaneshwar on Friday. Doctors at AIIMS are still not sure whether they would go for the surgery, as the procedure would put the lives of both the toddlers in risk.

THE CHALLENGE

AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said, "It is one of the most challenging cases and also a first-of-its kind one that AIIMS has seen. We have accepted the challenge but till now we are not sure about the chances of survival of the kids. Only after detailed investigations, we will be able to comment whether surgery is feasible or not. Multiple surgeries are to be done. Their heads are completely fused and they face away from each other. We can only comment after brain mapping and angiograms."

Health experts say nearly 40 per cent of conjoined twins die during birth and an additional one-third die within 24 hours of birth, usually from congenital organ anomalies, leaving 25 per cent to be considered for surgical separation. Less than 50 cases have been reported globally in the last 75 years .

(Prof) Dr AK Mahaptra, chief of Neuroscience Centre at AIIMS said a multipspecialty team consisting of pediatirc neurosurgeons, cerebrovasular surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, neuroanesthetists, neurologists and child psychologists have discussing complexities in this case.

Doctors at AIIMS informed that both the toddlers are malnourished and that this could pose a threat during surgeries. Dr Deepak Gupta, a neurosurgery professor, added that only 25 per cent cases of this sort do succeed. "Surgical planning itself can take upto three months to get finalised. The entire procedure involves multiple stages that usually require quite a months to get over. As of now, we just need to keep the kids away from infection."

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