By Jackie Salo
Two conjoined twins were successfully separated during a procedure by a 78-member team in Nigeria, hospital officials announced Wednesday.
Mercy and Goodness Ede were joined at the chest and abdomen before they underwent the 13-hour surgery six weeks ago at the National Hospital in the capital city of Abuja, CNN reported.
“We are just happy and proud that the team that worked on this surgery were all Nigerians. It was done in Nigeria, and the parents didn’t have to go outside the country,” said National Hospital spokesman Dr. Tayo Haastrup, who noted details were only being released now to ensure there were no post-surgery complications.
The sisters were born in August with a condition known as omphalocele, a birth defect that left a section of their intestines outside their navels, CNN reported.
Complications prevented the doctors from performing the surgery until November.
“We needed to determine if they could live independently when they are separated. We found out that they were sharing a diaphragm and one liver was serving both of them, but all other organs were separate,” pediatric surgeon Emmanuel Ameh told CNN.
The twins were the first to be separated at the center, which did the operation free of charge, the outlet reported.
Conjoined twins are extremely rare, accounting for one in 50,000 births, the report said.