NEW DELHI: Using the experience of separation of conjoined twins hailing from Odisha, a neurosurgeon from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is going to perform a twin Craniopagus surgery — a first case detected in Ghana. Six months ago, Dr Deepak Gupta of the reputed medical institute was approached by the Ghana government to look into the first such case in the country.
“The surgeons from a Ghana hospital as well as the government contacted me related to the case in June. Since then, we have been constantly in touch on how to proceed with the separation of the twins. They have very limited resources and a budget of one million dollars. So when they approached me, I suggested investing the same amount in making the hospital well equipped so that the surgery can be done back in Ghana and the twins do not have to travel,” said Dr Gupta from Ghana over telephone.
The surgery is scheduled to begin in January next year. On Monday, November 15, 2021, a dry run of the surgery was conducted which went successful. Dr Gupta mentioned that the Ghana government had approached doctors from other countries. However, almost all those doctors had recommended that the twins travel abroad.
“Such medical processes take around flour to five rounds of surgeries for separation. In order to ensure that it goes off well, I will be travelling to Ghana for every surgery. The twins are seven-month old and weigh 16 kg collectively. Since the dry run was successful, we are hoping that the main surgery too will be a success,” Dr Gupta added.
Craniopagus conjoined twins represent a rare phenomenon of congenital malformation/dysmorphism. The clinical pathology of this complex entity is reviewed and placed in perspective. Successful separation of craniopagus twins remains a rarity. Modern neurosurgical techniques have created opportunities for successful separation nonetheless and increased hopes of normal survival of these children.
“Since I had the experience of separating the twins from Odisha, I put forward that knowledge and recommended improving the facilities of the Ghana hospital. I will be leading the team which has also got experts from the UK and USA,” Dr Gupta noted. Kalia and Jaga were the first such medical cases in India.
They had their heads fused since birth in 2015. The rare conjoined twins were separated at AIIMS by a massive medical team of 20 specialists. This separation went down as one of the rarest operations in India’s medical history. It lasted 45 hours on August 28, 2017. They were finally separated in another operation in October. While there was considerable improvement in the health condition of Jaga, Kalia’s recovery was comparatively slower. Last year, Kalia passed away.