After two years and two months, Jagga and Baliya, the craniopagus twins, who were joined at the heads and later surgically separated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), are finally on their way out of the hospital and heading home to Odisha.
It was the first-of-its-kind surgery performed in India and also a rarest of the rare case in the world. It took a team of 125 doctors led by Dr Deepak Gupta, Professor of neurosurgery, who carried out a detailed planning for surgical separation of the two conjoined twins.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan who even spent quality time with the twins on Thursday evening while addressing the media said "I was emotional and proud at the same time of the doctors at AIIMS who successfully carried out the surgery. I suggest that this rarest of the rare surgery could be called ''AIIMS Delhi Jagga Baliya Craniopagus Surgery'', and set a milestone in the medical world."
Dr Gupta along with Dr Girija Rath (Neuroanesthetist), Dr Kiran Kumar (Pediatrician) along with a nurse from AIIMS, Delhi will accompany the two children on their way back to Odisha by train on Friday evening. The two children will be initially be at Srirama Chandra Bhanja (SCB) Medical College and Hospital.
"It is such a great coincidence that Jagga and Baliya will reach home on September 7 and Chandrayaan-II will also touch the moon on the same date. It''s not only India''s scientists that are doing India proud, it is the commendable determination and commitment of the doctors also that is making India proud. This rarest of the rare surgery is one such shining example," the minister said at AIIMS.
Jaga and Baliya were admitted to AIIMS on July 14, 2017, the first stage surgery lasted 25 hours and the doctors had to create a venous bypass on Baliya and partial brain separation from Jagga was conducted on August 28, 2017 in another operation which lasted for 24 hours.
The surgery is a first in the country where both the twins have survived. In the last 50 years or so only 10-15 children have survived after being separated. Doctors at AIIMS stated that it is an extremely rare condition seen in one in 2,500,000 live births and any kind of surgical intervention in this condition is associated with 75-80 per cent risk of death for one or both children.
"All modern adjuncts of technology for surgical planning, 3D print model technology for brain and skull model development , venous bypass, staged surgeries and continous post-operative care was provided by craniopagus team of over 75 doctors and 50 nursing and support team staff at AIIMS," Dr Gupta said.
Currently Jagga is progressing well on all parameters on neuropsychological assessment and can join a special school in Odisha immediately after going to his home state while Baliya remains neurologically disabled with profound intellectual impairment.
Baliya is being fed by PEG tube to maintain nutrition and he is breathing on his own and has intact sleep-wake cycles. Baliya requires long term rehabilitation care and needs nurture and tender loving care as assessed by neuropsychologists. The two children also have two elder brothers in Odisha.