Conjoined twins flown to Melbourne for surgery successfully separated

Nima and Dawa were known to share a liver but could also share part of the bowel which would complicate the surgery

Life-changing surgery to separate conjoined Bhutanese twins Nima and Dawa in Melbourne has been successful.

Doctors at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne had hoped the procedure would be straightforward, but said it would be impossible to know until the procedure began.

"If they don't share much of a connection beyond what we have seen on scans, we should nearly finish by 4pm".

"We saw two young girls very ready for surgery, were able to cope very well with the surgery and now in recovery doing very well, " he said.

The worst-case scenario would have been if the girls shared a component that was vital to both.

They were brought to Australia with their mother Bhumchu Zangmo in October and have been staying at the Children First Foundation retreat in Kilmore.

They headed into the theatre at 8am on Friday, with doctors administering the anaesthestic about 8.45am.

Elizabeth Lodge, from the charity, said Ms Zangmo was feeling "a little bit scared" about the procedure, but had shown "extraordinary calmness" so far.

She spent Friday praying and meditating.

Crameri said if there were any unexpected problems during the operation, the hospital had all the resources and experts on hand that it would need.

"It is a relief and it is also a joy, there's nothing better in any operation to be able to go to the parents and say we have been able to take care of your child", Dr Joe Crameri, who led the 18-strong surgical team and is the head of paediatric surgery at the hospital, told a media conference. They could stand but only at the same time.

Nima and Dawa, and their mother Bhumchu Zangmo, arrived in Australia a month ago with the help of an Australian charity but doctors had delayed the surgery until Friday to ensure the twins were well-enough nourished to support the operation.

"We were very fortunate in that there wasn't any significant bowel attachment and while it was all swimming next to one another it wasn't actually connected in any major way", Dr Crameri told reporters.

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