Saudi conjoined twins separated

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah

Saudi conjoined twins were successfully separated in a five-hour surgery Thursday by a surgical and multidisciplinary team headed by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah.

The separation took place at the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City, Ministry of National Guard— Health Affairs in Riyadh based on a directive of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

The conjoined twins, Eylan and Eleen who weighed 3.6 kg at birth, were delivered by a caesarean section at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City–Riyadh, when the mother was in the 34th week of her pregnancy.

According to a spokesman for the hospital, the surgery, which started at 7:20 a.m., ended successfully at noon Thursday, and the twins were placed on two separate cots in the pediatric intensive care unit of the hospital.

Al-Rabeeah said that the twins underwent clinical tests, which showed they were conjoined at the abdominal wall and the lower chest, and they shared the liver with abdominal wall defects.

The twin Eylan suffered from congenital defects, where she had disruption in the abdominal wall and the bladder, and a fistula between the small intestine and bladder. She also suffered from spinal cord, vertebral column and brain abnormalities.

Prior to the surgery, Al-Rabeeah confirmed that, in the light of these abnormalities, the risk rate of the operation for Eylan was up to 80 percent, which was the reason behind bringing the operation forward to save Eleen‘s life. Al-Rabeeah had expected the procedure to last for up to seven hours with the participation of the multidisciplinary team. The parents thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman who magnanimously ordered the separation surgery.

Thursday’s separation was the 41st surgery to be performed on conjoined twins in the Kingdom since 1990, on cases from more than 18 countries.

Saudi Arabia has a team of top surgeons specializing in the separation of twins, with experience in treating more than 94 twins, of which 32 have been successful during the past two decades. The remaining cases were not fit for separation owing to health reasons.

Besides the Kingdom, the twins came from Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Morocco and Iraq.

Al-Rabeah, who is the president of medical and surgical team in separating Siamese twins, was the former health minister and is currently the general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center. He is a surgeon of repute and is known as the pioneer of separation surgeries in the Kingdom.

The separation of conjoined twins is carried out on directives issued by the king and the total expenses of the surgery and the related costs are borne by the Saudi government as a humanitarian gesture.


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