Bhutan's First Conjoined Twins To Be Evaluated Before Separation Surgery

Conjoined toddlers Nima and Dawa have spent their first night in Australia as they await complex separation surgery.

A pair of Bhutanese twins who were born 14 months ago conjoined at the chest will be evaluated on Thursday at a hospital in Australia before undergoing separation surgery. "So far, so good".

A number of tests and scans had to be carried out because doctors had little information on the girls' condition before the arrival of the twins and their mother in Melbourne from Bhutan in the Himalayas on Tuesday.

Nutrition levels will be an important guide, with the girls' condition meaning they can not be weighed separately.

"They're pretty skinny, they haven't been able to practise crawling the way normal kids would, so maybe their muscles haven't developed so well but we want to just double check everything is alright, generally", Mr McKenzie said.

"We finally got to meet Dawa and Nima yesterday, everything is very positive", lead anaesthetist Dr Ian McKenzie said.

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A paediatric surgeon with Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu, Dr Karma Sherub said the expense for surgery and flights to Australia is funded by the Children First Foundation, an Australian-based charity that focuses on ensuring children from developing countries have access to specialist surgeries and medical care.

"In general, they are happy healthy girls who are interacting quite well", he said.

They must undergo further scans to determine the surgical plan and its timing, with doctors predicting the procedure might take up to eight hours.

"Their time on getting home will depend a lot on our ability to fix the abdominal wall because obviously they share skin and muscle", Crameri said.

The girls' surgery and recovery is estimated to cost at least 350,000 Australian dollars ($252,000) which the foundation is confident of raising through community donations.

The state government pledged to cover the surgery, with other funds raised to go towards the girls' stay, rehabilitation and future.

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