Bhutanese conjoined twins separated in Australia

Nima and Dawa were known to share a liver but could also share part of the bowel which would complicate the surgery

"And really the main challenge today, as we thought, was getting the abdomen reconstructed so both areas were closed over".

Head of paediatric surgery Dr Joe Crameri, who led the operation, confirmed the procedure finished about 2.30pm.

The 15-month-old girls, Nima and Dawa, were doing well after the surgery that lasted nearly six hours, said Joe Crameri, the head of pediatric surgery at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.

"We have been able to remove their breathing tubes so they are breathing independently and that was a very important step after the operation", Crameri said.

The girls and their mother spent the past month at a retreat outside Melbourne run by the Children First Foundation, which raised money to bring the family to Australia for the surgery.

The girls were known to share a liver, but could also share part of the bowel, which would complicate the surgery, Crameri said, but added that the chance for a successful operation was "looking very positive".

According to Herald Sun, a newspaper based in Melbourne, Nima and Dawa would be taken for surgery after 8am (Melbourne time) on Novermber 9, where they will be known as Green and Red to avoid mix ups. All the doctors, nurses and surgical equipment assigned to each girl were also colour-coded.

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Nima and Dawa were born by caesarean section on July 13 past year in a regional hospital in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, shocking doctors and the twins' family who had been expecting twins, but did not know they were conjoined.

The charity's chief executive Elizabeth Lodge said the toddlers' mother Bhumchu Zangmo was feeling "a little bit scared" about the operation, but was otherwise in good spirits.

She spent Friday praying and meditating.

One of the biggest operating theatres has been commandeered for the procedure, which will involve two teams of anaesthetists - one for each sister.

Ms Zangmo was said to be "very relieved" by the result of the surgery. An operating team of 18 members were involved in the procedure. They could stand but only at the same time.

It is hoped the girls will not have to spend time in ICU but they will be closely monitored over the next 24 to 48 hours and are expected to be in hospital for about a week.

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