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Surgeons at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife in Osun Sate have successfully separated a set of siamese twins with a common anus and fused lower spine. Siamese twins are usually identical, sometimes sharing organs. fusion in mostly along the trunk or at the head When both are normal, except for fusion, surgical separation is sometimes possible. The name siamese twins refers to the two men from siam, the former name for the Gulf of Thailand, named chang and Eng. They were joined by a fleshy band in the waist region despite this, they lived an active lie and each fathered several children. In a seven hour surgical procedure, a team of surgeons at the OAUTHS on Monday May 6, 2002, made the breakthrough in the separation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The medical team was led by the colloge's provost, Professor Sanya Adejuyigbe, a consultant paediatric surgeon. The breakthrough was disclosed last week Thursday by the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Professor David Olayinka Akinola. Other members of the team of surgeons were: Dr. A. O. Sowande, (Paediatric Surgeon), Dr. J.K Olabanji, (Plastic Surgeon); Dr. Lawrence Akinyoola, (Orthopaedic Surgeon); Dr. Fola Fiponle, (Anaesthesiologist) and Dr. E. A Komolafe (Neuro-Surgeon). The obviously happy parents of the siamese twins, Mr. and Mrs Ajayi Owoeye expressed gratitude to God and the management of the teaching hospital for making the feat possible. According to a report by the hospital's Public Relations Officer Mr. Olu Bello, the twins are stable and are doing well in one of the wards of the hospital. In recent times, remarkable success has been achived across the globe in the seperation of siamese twins. Last month, a 24-year old mother, Mrs. Rose Cupata gave birth to siamese twins at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Abeokuta, one died during delivery. Quite often, most siamese twins in Nigeria die shortly after birth. In most successful cases, one twin is sacrificed for the other. For example, recently in Britain a siamese twin girl survived a controversial operation to separate her from her sister after the latter's death. Doctors had said that without surgery both three-month-old twins would eventually have died. They carried out the operation to save Jodic, the stronger twin, knowing that separation was bound to end the life of her weaker sister, Mary. However, medical reports have shown that the chances of a successful operation of siamese twins who share one heart, are very slim. Profesor Lewis Spitz of Great Ormond Street Hospital London, United Kingdom-said that without an operation, both twins still certainly die. Spitz, a world expert in twin separation said in the Britain Medical Journal that of blood vessels surrounding the heart was virtually impossible." Construction of a heart to sustain even one baby would be equally difficult, he said. No babies in the same situation have ever survived long-term. Commenting on the feat, a plastic surgeon at the National Orthorpaedic Hospital Enugu, Dr. Uche Achebe told The Guardian that the OAUTHS separation was commendable. He however noted that records have shown that siamese twins do not get to live long after separation. However, with the experience and qualification of the team of surgeon, and most importantly an element of divinity, I hope the twins will live on after the separation," he said.

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