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Conjoined Twins Separated Successfully
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Conjoined brothers from Shandong Province were successfully separated at Shanghai Children's Medical Centre yesterday, 81 days after their birth.

Professor Liu Jinfen, president of the hospital, said at a press conference that the five-hour procedure had gone well.

"The surgery was very successful," said Liu.

"There were no unexpected situations during the whole process."

Huang Long and Huang Jianlong, born on February 25, were connected from chest to navel.

On April 17, they were transferred to Shanghai, where medical experts have previously successfully separated six conjoined twins.

Conjoined twins occur among every 100,000 births, and the separation surgery is complicated and risky.

Professor Shi Chengren, chief surgeon during the latest operation, said the case was more complicated than others as Huang Jianlong suffers serious heart problems.

Advanced medical devices used during the operation, such as an ultrasound knife, controlled the amount of blood loss from the boys. After the boys were separated, a small piece of artificial material was used to cover their chests.

Their mother told China Daily of her delight after the successful operation.

"I had been crying and crying since the birth of my poor sons, my eyes became so swollen," said 29-year-old Gao Yulan.

"But now I have no tears. For the first time, I can smile."

Both the boys remained in stable conditions during the operation and have been placed under close surveillance in an intensive care unit. They still face post-surgery risks, such as infections.

Huang Long is expected to develop healthily, but his brother will need follow-up surgery to repair his seriously deformed heart, said Shi.

A date for his operation has not yet been set. "It all depends on the condition of the boy. It could be performed one week later or months later," said Liu.

Liu attributed the success of the separating procedure to thorough planning and excellent teamwork. Two teams of surgeons and anaesthetists, numbering more than 20 in total, jointly performed the surgery.

(China Daily May 17, 2006)

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