Mom overjoyed after twins joined at the head successfully separated at Red Cross Children’s Hospital

By Supplied Time of article published May 11, 2021

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Cape Town - The mother of a set of twins joined at the head is overjoyed after the babies successfully underwent separation surgery at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

“I am overjoyed! I wasn’t expecting to leave here holding my children one in each arm,” said Ntombikayise Tyhalisi, 31.

Siphosethu and Amahle were born in the Eastern Cape and taken to the Western Cape’s Red Cross Children’s Hospital at only four days old.

A multi-disciplinary team involving a full set for each twin was put together for this unique surgery. Each team comprised of an anaesthetist, neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, and nurses.

Professor Tony Figaji, head of paediatric neurosurgery at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital explains that the twins were joined at the head in what is medically referred to as craniopagus twinning. “It’s the rarest form of conjoined twinning.”

Craniopagus twins occur approximately once in every 2.5 million live births worldwide.

“We were fortunate in this case that the connection did not involve any shared brain tissue and didn’t involve major [blood] vessels going from one twin to the other,” said Professor Figaji.

Siphosethu and Amahle were born in the Eastern Cape and taken to the Western Cape’s Red Cross Children’s Hospital at only four days old. Picture: Western Cape Government Health

Professor Saleigh Adams, head of plastic surgery at RCMWCH, said the teams were prepared for a marathon surgery: “We were prepared for a six-hour, at least, surgery. On this occasion the surgery lasted all of one-and-a half hours. This is a huge plus for the recovery of the twins.”

“We’re proud of the entire multidisciplinary team involved in helping these twin patients: from the birthing team in the Eastern Cape and the referring clinicians, to our staff in the wards and theatre and then to those involved with the post-surgery care. A huge thank you to everyone,” said Dr Anita Parbhoo, acting CEO for RCWMCH.

Both patients and mom are doing well following the surgery and continue to receive follow up care.

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