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Siamese Twins Successfully Separated in Arduous Operation

January 25, 1995

TORONTO (AP) _ Two-year-old Siamese twin girls born connected at the head were in stable condition in intensive care Tuesday after being separated in a risky 16-hour operation.

The girls, Hira and Nida Jamal, were under sedation and on breathing support at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

The weaker of the girls, Nida, was suffering a buildup of blood in her brain, neurosurgeon Dr. Harold Hoffman said. He said doctors were concerned that could cause brain damage.

Procedures to separate children joined at the head _ known as cephalopagus twins _ have only been performed 30 times. In two-thirds of the operations, one or both children died.

The girls survival odds are ``significantly better″ now that the surgery is over, Hoffman said. ``They’re both surviving and may survive a good long time.″

The girls underwent about 16 hours of surgery, massive infusions of blood and extensive reconstruction of their skulls.

Doctors had originally scheduled the surgery for next month, but had to act earlier because Hira’s heart, which had been pumping blood for both girls, was deteriorating.

The girls are actually two of triplets. Their sister, Faryal, traveled with their parents to Toronto from the family’s home in Karachi, Pakistan.

Before the surgery, hospital staff prepared the girls for the shock of separation using dolls, pictures and mirrors. They will be in the same room when they wake up so they will be able to talk and touch each other.

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