Conjoined twins scheduled for microsurgery

Update: August, 04/2016 - 10:00
Conjoined twins are cared for at HCM City Paediatrics Hospital No.2. They will undergo microsurgery when they are three months old. —VNS Photo Phương Vy
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — A pair of conjoined twins will be separated during microsurgery by doctors at HCM City Paediatrics Hospital No.2 when the twins are three months old, a doctor said yesterday.  

The sacral parasitic conjoined twins are eight days old and weigh 3.4 kilos, according to Dr Nguyễn Thanh Trúc of the hospital. One of them is healthy and the other has a defective right rib.

After the surgery, the twins could be at risk of developing disorders of urination and bowel functions as well as abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

Dr Phạm Ngọc Thạch, the hospital’s deputy head, said the technique was the preferred method because their spines were conjoined. He said that an artificial anus would be created.

He said that the risk of death during surgery was not higher than the risk on twins conjoined at the chest or abdomen. The hospital had conducted a number of operations on the latter, he said.

However, problems in physiological functions after surgery could affect their quality of life, Thạch said.

Trúc said that nutrition was especially important to maintain their immune system as the twins were born prematurely.

At the hospital, the twins, from Bình Phước Province, are turned over every six hours to avoid necrobiosis, a gradual degeneration of cells in body tissues.

Doctors at other city hospitals, such as the city’s Paediatrics Hospital No.1, have also successfully separated conjoined twins.

In 1988, 70 local and Japanese doctors performed the first 15-hour surgery in Việt Nam to separate twins conjoined at the abdomen who had the same anus. The twins were from the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum.

This achievement was a historical milestone in the country’s health sector, done without advanced medical equipment and medicine at the time.

Prenatal screening

Dr Trúc said that periodic ultrasounds could detect physical anomalies, including conjoined twins, during the gestation period.

The mothers of conjoined twins are advised to give birth at specialised hospitals for better delivery and care to avoid suffocation during labour.

With advanced technologies, Từ Dũ Obstetrics Hospital can detect anomalies at the 12th week of pregnancy, Trúc said, adding that pregnant women in this situation also received psychological assistance.

In the case of serious defects, the women are advised to end the pregnancy.

Trúc said that pregnant women should schedule periodic ultrasounds at well-respected hospitals.

The 24-year-old husband of the mother of the conjoined twins who will be separated during microsurgery said that his wife had received ultrasound three times at a private health clinic, but doctors had failed to notice that the twins were conjoined.  —VNS