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Siamese Twin Girls Successfully Separated in Israel

Surgeons in Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel ( SCMCI) on December 3, 1995 successfully separated twin girls born this morning in the hospital. The girls are in good condition and are recovering from the operation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Schneider Children's Medlcal Center.

The twins, born in a cesarean operation early Sunday morning - also performed at SCMCI - to a 30 year old woman from northern Israel, were joined at the small and large intestines and shared one bladder. There are only six recorded cases in the medical literature of this type of joining by Siamese twins, as most are born joined in the chest area. Siamese twins are born about one every 25O,OOO live births.

The complex, five-and-a half hour surgery consisted of two stages: first, surgeons separated the twins' large and small intestines, and divided their urinary bladder, enabling the twins to he separated; second, in two separate operating rooms, the doctors constructed a bladder for each girl.

The girls spent their first night comfortably. According to Dr. Eliyahyu Wielunsky, SCMCI Deputy Director and head of the hospital's premature baby unit, the twins' digestive and urological systems are functioning properly. They are being feed intravenously and are slowly being weaned from artificial respiration. "The girls' prognosis is optimistic, but they will require additional operations and a Iong period of rehabilitalion," said Dr. Wielunsky. The multidisciplinary surgical team that performed the operation was headed by Prof. Michael Zer, Director of the Department of Pediatric Surgery, Dr. Ya'akov Katz, Director of Pediatric Anesthesiology of Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, and Dr. Pinchas Livne, Director of the Department of Urology at Rambam Hospital in Haifa.

The most recent cases of Siamese twins in Israel were in 1983 and 1974. Unfortunately, in both cases the twins did not survive. Aside from the joined area, the girls were born in excellent physiological condition, with all body systems functioning well. Born in the 35th week of pregnancy, the girls' combined birth weight was 5.68 kilograms (about 12.5 pounds).

The girls' condition was diagnoscd in the 8th week of pregnancy, and it was decided that the birth and subsequent surgery would take place at Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, since the SCMCI - Israel's only children's hospital - offers all the necessary pediatric subspecialties required for the multidisciplinary surgery called for in such a case.

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