Conjoined twins separated successfully

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A 31-year-old mother, of twins joined at the head, is over the moon after her babies were separated at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) in Cape Town.  

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

According to the Western Cape Health Department, Siphosethu and Amahle were born in the Eastern Cape and later transferred to the RCWMCH when they were four days old.

The conjoined twins successfully underwent separation surgery in February this year and are recovering well.

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

RCWMCH’s Paediatric Neurosurgery Head, Professor Tony Figaji, said twins born joined at the head is a rare condition called craniopagus. 

“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,” Figaji added.

Meanwhile, Plastic Surgery Head, Professor Saleigh Adams, told the department that 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.”

The hospital’s acting CEO, Dr Anita Parbhoo, said: “We are 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”.

The hospital’s focus now turns to ensure the healthy healing of the surgical areas.

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