For Seetal Zalte and her husband Sagar, the 13 hours they spent outside an operation theatre in city-based BJ Wadia Hospital on Tuesday seemed endless.
However, at 5 PM, the agonizing wait seemed worthwhile when a doctor broke the news that Love and Prince, over one-year-old conjoined twins of the couple, had been successfully separated by a team of 20 doctors following a complex surgery.
Love and Prince now lie in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of the hospital in separate cots.
Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO, Wadia Hospitals, said the twins were conjoined at the abdomen and hip and both had a common liver, intestine and urinary bladder.
“It was a unique surgery that involved a team of 20 doctors who planned and performed the 12-hour long complex and complicated surgery successfully on December 12,” Dr Bodhanwala told reporters here.
The couple first learnt about the anomaly in the 24th week of Seetal’s pregnancy when a scan conducted at Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital showed that the twins were fused waist down.
They were born conjoined with a fused liver, intestine, urinary bladder, and chest bone to Zaltes, residents of suburban Ghatkopar, in September 2016.
According to Dr Bodhanwala, the Zaltes were counselled about the medical condition of the conjoined twins, but they decided to go ahead with the delivery.
Following the birth of Love and Prince, the doctors decided to wait for at least six months before conducting a surgery to separate them.
The boys were fused in such a way that they faced each other. However, they had two individual sets of hands and legs, separate brain, lungs and heart.
“Medical staff at the hospital ensured that the parents were counseled about the condition of the twins before delivery and a decision was taken to deliver the twins at Wadia Hospital itself,” Dr Bodhanwala said.
Dr Bodhanwala said Love and Prince will be kept under observation for a few days.
However, it is a long journey ahead for Love and Prince and their parents.
According to Dr Bodhanwala, Love and Prince will have to undergo multiple surgeries to ensure they remain healthy and fit enough to survive.
For doctors, the most challenging part of the surgery was to provide skin to cover both the children, she said.
Seetal Zalte is obviously exalted though she is aware of the challenges ahead.
She recalled that the doctors at Wadia Maternity Hospital had apprised them about the possible outcomes of the surgery.
“They told us that separation surgeries are possible and children can go on to live normal lives. The doctors at Wadia hospital explained me every minute detail on the day of the surgery. We did not face any difficulty and have been taking care of them as normal kids,” she said.
In June 2014, conjoined twins Riddhi and Siddhi had undergone a separation surgery at the same hospital.