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Baby girls Rital and Ritag Gaboura, who are 11 months old, were separated on 15 August after four operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, in an operation funded by the charity Facing the World. Photo Credit: Courtesy Facing the World
Baby girls Rital and Ritag Gaboura, who are 11 months old, were separated on 15 August after four operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, in an operation funded by the charity Facing the World. Photo Credit: Courtesy Facing the World

Sudanese twins joined at head survive odds of 10 million to one

Successful surgery in London finally separates eleven-month-old conjoined twins after four months of treatment and four major operations.

LONDON // Sudanese twins joined at the head have overcome odds of 10 million to one by surviving a series of operations to separate them.

The eleven-month-old sisters Rital and Ritaj Gaboura appear to have suffered no neurological damage after months after complex surgical procedures.

The pair were finally separated in an operation last month at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a specialist children's hospital in London.

Brought to Britain from Khartoum by the British children's charity Facing the World, the girls had been born by caesarean section in October 2010 with the tops of their heads fused together.

Although only one in 10 million such twins survive such a condition, the surgeons at the hospital embarked on four months of treatment and four major operations to re-route blood supplies and nerves before the final procedure to separate the girls on August 15, the charity announced yesterday.

One of the problems confronting the doctors was that Ritaj was supplying half of her sister's brain with blood. Most of it was then draining back to her own heart resulting in her body doing most of the work for both of them.

"The incidences of surviving twins with this condition are extremely rare, said David Dunaway, a senior surgeon with the cranio-facial unit at Great Ormond Street and a trustee of Facing the World, yesterday. "The task presented innumerable challenges and we were all very aware of our responsibilities to the family and these two little girls.

"The Gaboura family have been extremely brave throughout a very stressful journey and their love for their children is clear to see. It is a testimony to the support of the British public that we are able to do any of the charity work that we do."

Their parents, Abdelmajeed Gaboura, 31, and Enas, 27, are doctors in Khartoum and they turned to the charity for help because they could not afford to pay for the complex surgery abroad that their daughters needed.

"We are very thankful to be able to look forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls," the parents told the Mail on Sunday.

"We are very grateful to all the doctors who volunteered their time and to Facing the World for organising all the logistics and for paying for the surgery.

The charity, which depends on public donations, said that conjoined twins are only found in about one in 100,000 births, with only five per cent being joined at the head.

Dr Dunaway, who led the surgical teams involved in the separation procedures, will give further details on the ground-breaking techniques used at a news conference in London today.

dsapsted@thenational.ae

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