Surgeons at a British hospital have successfully separated one-year-old conjoined twins from Sudan, the charity which funded the procedure said Sunday.
Baby girls Rital and Ritag Gaboura are craniopagus twins, meaning they were born joined at the head. While conjoined twins are very rare, craniopagus twins are even rarer, and only one in ten million sufferers survive to infancy.
One month after their separation on August 15, however, they are happy and do not appear to be suffering any neurological side effects from the operation, according to British charity Facing the World.
After their birth on September 22, 2010, in Khartoum, the twins' parents asked the charity to fund and organise their possible separation.
They flew to London in April, by which time Ritag's heart was already failing, and the twins were admitted the world famous Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The separation was carried out in four stages by a surgical team working for free. Two operations were performed in May, tissue expanders were inserted in July and the final separation was carried out on August 15.
"We are very thankful to be able to look forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls," said their parents, Abdelmajeed and Enas Gaboura, who are both doctors.
"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 surgeon who led the operation, David Dunaway, said it had presented huge challenges.
"The incidences of surviving twins with this condition are extremely rare. The task presented innumerable challenges and we were all very aware of our responsibilities to the family and these two little girls," he said.
"The Gaboura family have been extremely brave throughout a very stressful journey and their love for their children is clear to see."
(c) 2011 AFP