After 3 sets of girls, this time we have 2 boys referred to us. They were in good shape and as the charity was up and running, logistics and funding were much easier and quicker to arrange on this occasion. Mr Jeelani first saw them in August 2019 whilst on holiday in Turkey. By a stroke of pure serendipity they lived in the same area as he was visiting. Following discussions with the family and the Turkish medical teams, Gemini was requested to proceed with the attempted separation. Turkey has expert health care professionals and excellent healthcare facilities but given the rare nature of this condition, all clinicians involved felt it would be safer for the kids to have their surgery with a team with previous experience.
The boys arrived in Dec 2019, aged 18 months. For clinical and logistical reasons, we altered our surgical plan here and started with the skin expansion first. The expanders were inserted on December 10th, 2019. After 5 weeks of skin expansion we started on separating their brains and blood vessels. This was done in 3 stages, each stage being one week apart, on January 14th, 21st and final separation on January 28th. These 3 surgeries lasted some 36 hours and the whole process took 7 weeks, which was quicker than our previous 3 sets. From our previous experience we were able to work out that it would be safe to undertake separation at this pace and the risk of complications due to prolonged hospital stay would be minimised. We are pleased this worked out even though we were quite tired at the end of January.
Over the past few months, the kids have been undergoing rehabilitation and a few more surgical procedures to fix their scalp and skin over their heads. The kids were transferred back to Turkey on June 12th, 2020 to continue their rehabilitation. The team at Gemini Untwined is delighted we were able to help these boys. We were not expecting to receive a referral so soon after our previous set but with the charity all set up, it was possible for us to raise funds and mobilise resources to help these kids within a matter of weeks.
Here at Gemini, we now have a team with the largest global experience of separating such twins. We continue to do research and improve our understanding of this condition and its treatment, so that we are able to help more such children and their families in the future, globally.
“When you find all your roads and paths blocked, he will show you a secret way that no one knows.” Rumi, 13th century Turkish Poet and Philosopher.