Two-year-old conjoined twins from birth have been successfully separated in what an Italian hospital says was a first-of-its-kind operation.
The twins, Ervina and Prefina had been joined above the nape of their necks.
They were born with a condition the Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, in Rome described on Tuesday as “one of the rarest and most complex forms of cranial and cerebral fusion,” Agence France-Presse reported.
However, surgeons succeeded in separating the girls and they are doing well.
The hospital, whose name translates to Baby Jesus Pediatric Hospital, said it was the first time in Italy and likely the world that surgeons were able to separate twins who shared the back of their skull and its venous system.
According to AFP, the two sisters were brought to Italy in September 2018, from Bangui, Central African Republic, after the hospital’s president met the baby and their mom when they were born.
Medical tests showed the girls to be generally in good health, but one sister’s heart was working harder to maintain the “physiological balance of the organs of both, including the brain,” the outlet reported.
Ervina and Prefina had “distinct” personalities. Prefina being vivacious and playful while Ervina was more serious and quietly observing, according to the hospital.
In addition, the hospital said the girls would have to wear protective helmets for a few months due to the ongoing risk of infection. But their brains were found to be “intact” and they will have the opportunity to “lead a normal life, like all girls of their age.”