A newborn baby boy – one of Siamese twins whose brother died in utero and was partially absorbed by the other – has undergone rare surgery at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center to remove the dead baby’s organs.
The baby was transferred on Wednesday to the neonatal intensive care unit in very serious condition.
The hospital said Wednesday night that at the end of the four-hour operation, the baby was fighting for his life after being separated from his conjoined stillborn twin. The deceased twins organs’ were separated from the surviving brother, except for the liver, which they shared and was left whole in the surviving twin.
For what appears to be the first time in Israel, Rambam surgeons performed the operation on the surviving baby, who – in addition to his own head, arms, and legs – had another pelvis, legs, arms, kidney and digestive system.
The medical team included cardiologists, heart surgeons, urologists, orthopedists, plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatric surgeons and other specialists.
There have only been 150 documented cases of similarly conjoined twins in the last 126 years, the first case was documented in the 16th century.
The Rambam surgeons, who had never seen such a case before, first had to understand which organs were shared by performing a CT scan. The surviving twin also suffers from a rare and serious heart defect.
A few of the many doctors to participate were pediatric surgery department head Dr. Ran Steinberg; pediatric laparoscopic surgery head Dr.
Arcady Vachyan; senior plastic surgeon and burns unit head Dr. Dana Egozi; and anesthesiologist Dr. Ayman Bukaii.
Steinberg said the surgery was a “complete success,” but added that the baby was still not out of danger.
“This kind of surgery is incredibly complicated, with low survival rates,” said Steinberg. “In many cases, as here, the twin also suffers from accompanying heart defects, which further endanger the infant’s life.”
No details about the baby or his family were given, to preserve their privacy.