Doctors in France have successfully operated on 15-month-old twins Mohamed and Souleymane, who were joined at the level of the spine. This is the first operation of its kind in France.
The surgery was performed on December 15 and follows in the steps of similar operations in Britain, South Africa and Canada. Dr Gabriel Lena, head of the pediatric neurosurgery division of the La Timone hospital said that at the moment, the twins looked good, "As soon as they woke up on the operating table, the twins moved their legs and their feet. Today, their prognosis is good." The twins were born prematurely and were indeed diagnosed as Siamese twins before they were born. They were conjoined at the base of the spine and were kept in the hospital until they were strong enough to be operated on since they just 1.7 pounds each.
The main risks of such an operation, which is routinely performed in Singapore with a fair degree of success, is the chance of developing paralysis and a type of infection that could develop into meningitis. The twins' parents have requested anonymity. But surgeons said that the boys should have a normal childhood. While operating, they made sure to leave enough skin to cover the wound by placing inflatable balloons under the area to be operated about 30 days before the surgery.