Twins stable after separation surgery

Separated conjoined Danielle and Danika Lowton, remained in a stable condition on Saturday having survived a successful 16-hour operation to separate them.

Arwyp Medical Centre Private Hospital spokesperson Henry du Plooy said the girls were being monitored constantly.

“The twins have been successfully separated and have survived their ordeal. We are just very grateful that they are doing well ... we feel blessed that the operation ran smoothly,” he said.

Danielle and Danika lay separated for the first time since their birth, on June 21 2006, at around 8.45pm on Friday.

The twins were born at the Arwyp Hospital on Gauteng’s East Rand and were joined at the head, facing away from each other.

Chief neurosurgeon at the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital Professor Rasik Gopal, part of the team who operated on the girls, said the operation looked “very successful”.

“The first 12 hours are very important,” he said.

However, he added that he did not foresee any problems with the twins’ dealing with their separation as they did not share common organs.

Preparation for the operation lasted more than a year, with doctors conducting various tests and assessments.

The team of neurosurgeons included Gopal, Professor S Mokgokong from the University of the Limpopo, a doctor from Arwyp and Dr Patrick Lekgwara.

Four plastic surgeons and seven anaethetists completed the team that operated on the Lowton babies.

There have been at least four cases of successful operations separating conjoined twins in South Africa.

“There have been others but not [with] this kind of connection,” Gopal said.

He cited the Banda twins, Joseph and Luka, the Lowton twins and Mpho and Mphonyana Mathibela who survived the operation but Mphonyana died a year later.
Monde and Nomonde Mokoena, a set of twins joined at the abdomen, also survived the operation.

A set of conjoined twins born in the Eastern Cape died before they could be operated on.

Du Plooy said the twins’ parents, Nitesh and Kribashnee Lowton, and their family were “exhausted but relieved” that the operation had been a success.

“The parents also wish to thank the South African public for their tremendous support, continued prayers and generous donations,” he said. - Sapa

Natasha Mirrian

Natasha Mirrian

Natasha Marrian is the Mail & Guardian's politics editor. She began her career in journalism in 2004. She formerly held the position of politics editor at Business Day and has also dabbled in broadcast journalism.  Read more from Natasha Mirrian

Client Media Releases

UKZN School of Engineering celebrates accreditation from ECSA
MTN celebrates 25 years of enhancing lives through superior network connectivity
Financial services businesses focus on CX