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Successful operation of a Siamese twin

Recently India made the headlines (yet again) for the successful operation of a Siamese twin.

Siamese twins are basically twins who are born joined to one another. There are generally various anatomical types like craniophagus (joined at the head, like the Iranian twins who had a failed operation in Singapore), thoracophagus (joined at the chest), and ischiophagus (joined at the pelvis). The Siamese twins essentially are from a single fertilized egg that fails to divide properly and results in continuing union between the twins after birth. Ther are a very rare finding with an incidence of 1 in every 200000 births with an overall survival rate of between 5 to 25%. Surprisingly a large majority of these twins are females.

Lakshmi Tatma was born to poor labourers from Bihar and was joined at the pelvis to an essentially headless twin with only limbs. A team of surgeons operated on her in Bangalore in a marathon 27 hour operation and separated her from her twin’s spinal column and kidneys. The child has recovered and is out of all monitoring equipments. She will need further surgeries to correct her club feet.

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