Odisha prays as surgery of conjoined twins Jagannath, Balaram begins at AIIMS

Odisha prays as surgery of conjoined twins Jagannath, Balaram begins at AIIMS. Photograph: Twitter

Bhubaneshwar/Orissa, August 29: A team of 40 doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi began the first phase of surgery to separate the conjoined twins Jagannath and Balaram on Monday. Jagannath and Balaram  hails from a Milipada village in Kandhamal district are a pair of conjoined twins attached at the head. The toddler who are 28-month-old, are joined at the head. However, the hospital Monday began India’s first craniopagus surgery to separate the two.

Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister called up Professor Ashok Mohapatra, who is leading the team of doctors, and questioned about the health of the two kids. Naveen Patnaik also tweeted to wish the doctors success. Naveen  Patnaik said that Professor Ashok Mohapatra who guaranteed that the surgery is on track and it may take another 8 hours.

Naveen Patnaik tweeted that “I assured all help & support for treatment of the children. I join people of Odisha in prayers for success of surgery & new life for the #conjoined twins fondly called Jaga-Balia.” Previously, Pratap Jena , the Health and Family Welfare Minister informed the media persons that the twins were taken into operation theater early this morning and surgery was started around 9 am.

According to media reports, the decision about starting the surgery would be taken after Magnetic Resonance Imaging and brain mapping examination was conducted in order to check how much impaired the brain functioning is. A team of specialists including one from Japan began the first stage of the surgery at 8.45 am. The twins, Jagannath and Balram were admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on July 14. When investigated it initially, it was revealed that there was “a lot of of brain fusion, lumps in the neck, chest infection and malnourishment”. The surgery would be carried out in three stages and a detailed neuro assessment would be done during the first stage.

Dr A K Mahapatra, chief of the neurosciences center at All India Institute of Medical Sciences , who is heading the team previously told The Indian Express that one baby has “more brain infused than the other”.  The surgery would be conducted after giving proper nourishment to the twins and making them “anaesthesia-fit.” Reliable sources said that the actual separation of the head would take place in the second stage.

Two teams would operate on the twins simultaneously. In the third stage, reconstruction will take place. “The reconstruction by a team of specialists would be done after 15 days or even a month” and added that it would take between 10-50 hours.  Dr Mahapatra, Dr Deepak Gupta, Professor of neurosurgery and Dr Mihir Prakash Pandia, Head of Department, Neuro Anaesthesiology are the doctors who are conducting the surgery.

Pratap Jena said that ““The surgery will be conducted in two stages. The first phase started on Monday and would take more than seven hours. The next phase would be started after  few days.” A list of pre-surgical investigations were carried for the conjoined twins. Naveen Patnaik also sanctioned 1 crore from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) for the treatment of the children of Bhuan and Puspanjali Kanhar. As news of the surgery became viral on social media, prayers for successful surgery of the conjoined twins came in. While conjoined twins are known to occur in about every 2,00,000 births, craniopagus twins are rarer still, accounting for about only two per cent.

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