A pair of Cameroonian conjoined twins are finally living independent lives after a 20-strong team of French medical experts spent 5 hours performing a complex surgery to separate them.
The one-year-old sisters, Bissie and Eyenga Merveille, were in a stable condition after the procedure ended on Wednesday at l’Hôpital Femme-Mère-Enfant in Bron, close to Lyon, the third largest city in France.
The miracle babies’ mother Laurel, did not receive antenatal care during her pregnancy. The twins came as a bit of a surprise when they were born last year as their mother had not known she was expecting twins — let alone omphalopagus twins, who are joined at the lower abdomen. It was a long and painful delivery.
Rejected by the girls’ father and members of her family, the twins’ mother Laurel fled her town, Ayos Centre Region of Cameroon to the capital Yaoundé some 140 kilometers (87 miles) away, where she and her daughters took refuge at a hospital where they lived awaiting the operation.
In many cases, surgical separation of omphalopagus twins can be successfully completed.
According to a health site, Very Well Family, “the prognosis for omphalopagus twins varies depending on the twins’ individual circumstances. Almost half are stillborn. For those that survive to be delivered, many face life-threatening complications.”
The outcome is determined by the degree of connectivity; omphalopagus twins that share vital organs are more likely to succumb to complications. The more that twins share, the more difficult it is for them to survive or to be surgically separated.
Bissie and Eyenga Merveille partly shared a liver according to a statement from the hospital in Lyon.
They were brought to France for the life-changing procedure by the charity organization La Chaine de l’Espoir.
One of the girls has been diagnosed with a heart condition, which will be operated on later, the charity said on its website.