Twin girls, Rital and Ritag Gaboura, will celebrate their first birthdays separately thanks to a four-stage operation that was successfully completed on August 15th. The girls who were born on September 22nd, 2010, in Sudan, were joined at the head and have been going through the series of operations for the last four months.
The charitable organization Facing the World made the operation possible by helping the family with finances and logistics. The surgery was performed at London’s Ormond Street Hospital.
Photos of the girls post-operation depict the babies as happy and healthy, laughing and smiling.
The Gaboura twins went through two surgeries in May, another in July, and the final separation just a month ago. The separation of conjoined twins is especially difficult in cases where the children share a significant blood flow, which was a factor in this case. In fact, among craniopagus (head-to-head) conjoined twins only 1 in 10 million survive infancy.
The family released a statement through Facing the World saying,
We did not believe it at first, it was a miracle. We never thought that we would have two normal girls. In fact I was unable to imagine what they would look like after separation until the first time I saw them. One or two days after surgery it was like all the time before when they were joined was a dream. Now I am happy and I have forgotten all the hard times and the stress during pregnancy.
David Dunaway, the surgeon who led the separation of the twins, reported that, “It is a delight to see how well the girls are doing. Rital was up and holding her own milk bottle again within days of surgery. Ritag took a day or two longer, but she too is back to her laughing self. After 11 months of spending most of their time lying on their backs it is amazing how quickly they have adapted.” Dunaway and the entire craniofacial team donated their time to perform the surgery.
The girls’ parents expressed their gratitude saying, “We are very thankful to be able to look forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls. We are so grateful to everyone who donated to Facing the World to help our girls and to fund the surgery of ours and future children.”
Dr. Dunaway added, “None of this would have been possible without the hard work of many specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital. …I am always reminded how incredibly fortunate we all are to have the NHS.” (The NHS is England’s free National Health Service.)
Facing the World is a children’s charity. It was set up by some of the UK’s leading craniofacial surgeons so that children in the world’s poorest countries, in desperate need and living without hope, can have access to the very best surgery to transform their faces and radically change their futures.
Photos courtesy of Kalpesh Lathigra: Facing the World.