Team succeeds in separation of Malaysian conjoined twins

Kuala Lumpur - It was an emotional moment and a Hari Raya gift that mechanic Azli Sabran and his family will never forget.

It was the day his year-old babies joined at the pelvis and sharing three legs were separated in a remarkable operation that resulted in the conjoined twins becoming two boys with their own bodies.

Born without an anal opening, Muaiman and Muaimin were also joined at the penis and shared bladders. It took a 24-hour surgery by a medical team at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) to separate them.

Muaimin, however, will require a prosthetic leg while Muaiman gets to keep both of his legs.

The twins, the 14th conjoined pair to be separated at the hospital and the 21st in the country, were in stable condition.

Speaking in a voice choking with joy and relief, 40-year-old Azli said he was grateful to Allah and the medical team for the successful operation on July 14.

"I feel so relieved. I could not sleep well before the surgery as I was so worried.

"For now, I'm just glad that they are safe," he said at the hospital yesterday.

Azli, from Segamat, Johor, said the family suspected the twins were conjoined in the eighth month of his wife's pregnancy and went for a scan.

While initially worried and distraught, they did not give up hope and when the twins were born on April 14 last year, they seemed like a beautiful bundle of joy.

The hospital studied the possibility of separating them and 19 surgeons and anaesthetists, with the help of medical staff and nurses, went on to do the surgery without imposing any charges on the family.

HKL paediatric surgery department head Datuk Dr Zakaria Zahari said: "With proper rehabilitation, both boys can lead a fairly normal and independent life.

"The sexual and reproductive functions of both twins will be assessed further as they grow."

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said HKL's success in carrying out such a complicated surgery showed it is able to make history and offer excellent paediatric care.

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