One of Cameroon’s rare conjoined twins have survived an intense operation lasting 27 hours to separate them.
The adorable nine-month-old sisters, named Elizabeth and Mary, left Cameroon for Turkey joined at the hip but have now been separated seven months later.
The girls’ mother has praised the “extraordinary” medical staff in Istanbul who carefully planned the surgery on 3D models before getting to work on the girls.
According to their parents, the girls who came out of the womb attached were living in pain which led to them seeking medical help.
Following seven months of planning and a final 27-hour operation to separate the conjoined twins, both girls have been discharged from the hospital in Istanbul.
The twins’ father Richard Akwe said: “We were very saddened by the thought of our babies not being able to move around freely and that they were hurting.
“We were also saddened by the crying of our little girls when they were hungry while my wife tried to breastfeed them one by one, but they were a gift to us and we are dedicated to taking care of them in the best way possible.”
The girls’ mother Anne Caroline Akwe told a news conference: “I was very very happy, for seeing Elizabeth and Mary being separated and well without any complication.
“Despite the many difficulties, I breastfed my babies for a year while they were conjoined.
“We never lost hope that they would be separated and live in good health. And that dream came true with the extraordinary effort and success of the Turkish doctors,” she said.
After the 27-hour operation, neurosurgeon Dr Memet Ozek said: “The separation of the lower part of the spinal cord was a problem in the eight-and-a-half-hour separation process. Why was it a problem?
“Because it involved four important functions: the movement of their feet, their control of the urinary tract, being able to control defecation, and to prevent a problem in their future sex life.
“Each one had its own unique set of problems. After surgery, the aim is to keep them protected.”