Surgeons in Australia separate conjoined girls from Bhutan

Nima and Dawa have been successfully separated. Source AAPMore

While optimistic, Crameri said he expected challenges, as it was not known exactly how many parts of the girls were connected internally.

"We saw two young girls very ready for surgery, were able to cope very well with the surgery and now in recovery doing very well, " he said.

Conjoined twins from Bhutan were separated at an Australian hospital Friday in a delicate operation that divided their shared liver and reconstructed their abdomens. A nurse was by her side.

A team of medical experts emerged from theatre on Friday afternoon after the six-hour procedure, proudly declaring that the 15-month-old girls, who were joined at the torso and shared a liver, had been separated. The bowel is known to be mixed, but Crameri said doctors don't yet know if the girls have separate bowels sitting next to one another or if the organ is shared between them.

They were brought to Australia with their mother Bhumchu Zangmo in October and have been staying at the Children First Foundation retreat in Kilmore.

They headed into the theatre at 8am, and doctors planned to administer anaesthesia around 8.45am. All the doctors, nurses and surgical equipment assigned to each girl were also colour-coded.

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Nima and Dawa were born by caesarean section on July 13 previous year in a regional hospital in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, shocking doctors and the twins' family who had been expecting twins, but did not know they were conjoined.

She spent Friday praying and meditating. "This morning she used the word happy, yesterday she said she was a little bit scared and just pleased that today is finally here", Lodge told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

"She still has this extraordinary calmness about her, which is just incredible".

One of the biggest operating theatres was commandeered for the procedure, which involved two teams of anaesthetists - one for each sister. They could stand but only at the same time.

It is hoped the girls will not have to spend time in ICU but they will be closely monitored over the next 24 to 48 hours and are expected to be in hospital for about a week.

Carers say the twins have improved enormously since they arrived in Melbourne last month, putting on a combined two kilograms and growing in confidence.

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