Conjoined twin girls joined at the skull separated successfully in rare surgery in Italy


Medical science and technology has advanced massively in the past few decades. And this has made the seemingly impossible, very possible. Medical conditions that were thought to be fatal and not curable once can now be cured with the appropriate medical interventions.

And here is a heartwarming story of how doctors have brought much joy and happiness in the life of Ermine Nzotto.

Twins Ervina and Prefina Bangalo were born on 29th June 2018 in Mbaiki in the Central African Republic to Ermine Nzotto. However, they were conjoined in total posterior craniopagus, which means their heads were attached and the two shared a majority of critical blood vessels.

These kind of conjoined twins are extremely rare – they occur once in every 2 million births!

However, in an operation that lasted 18 hours and involved about 30 doctors and nurses, the two girls were successfully separated at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Italy.

But, this was not an easy task. Read more about the backstory to this medical miracle.

So, the President of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, Mariella Enoc met the conjoined twins in July 2018 on a trip to the Central African Republic and she offered to treat them at the hospital in Rome. She arranged for the tickets for the mother and her children.

It was then that extensive preparation for this very complex surgery began to be carried out by a team of doctors led by Dr. Carlo Marras, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Bambino Gesu.

Conjoined twins joined at the head have been separated before. However, for most of them, the heads were fused vertically at the top rather than back-to-back, making this case more challenging than ever before. This is because at the back of the head, there is not much room to borrow blood vessels to give to each twin.

Ermine holding her conjoined twins Ervina and Prefina in April 2019, before the surgery. Image Source: BAMBINO GESU HOSPITAL VIA AP

The first stage of the treatment was carried out in May 2019 followed by a second in June 2019. The final 18-hour marathon surgery to separate the two was carried out on 5th June 2020, according to a release by the hospital.

“It was an experience that wasn’t just professional but above all human: to think that you can arrive at something that we had only imagined, with all the possibilities of failure. It was a magical moment. Marvelous,” Dr. Marras said.

The twins celebrated their second birthday on 29th June 2020 at the hospital. And videos released by the hospital showed the two girls waving to the music and clapping from their beds. Furthermore, the medical reports show that they are doing well.

Ermine holds her twins Ervina and Prefina as she poses with Carlo Marras, top right, head of the Bambino Gesu hospital’s neurosurgery department and the staff. Image Source: BAMBINO GESU HOSPITAL VIA AP

Their mother Ermine got very emotional and wiped her tears on watching a video of her daughters before and after the surgery.

“Ervina and Prefina were born twice. If we had stayed in Africa I don’t know what fate they would have had,” she said.
“My little girls can now grow up, study and become doctors to save other children.”
Isn’t this an amazing story of how doctors are life savers? What do you think? Let us know your views in the comments section below.
Exit mobile version