Craniopagus twins (CPT), i.e. twins joined at the head is one of the most challenging human malformations found once in 2.5 million live births and represents only 2–6% of conjoined twins. Approximately 40% of conjoined twins are stillborn, and an additional third die within 24 hours, usually from congenital organ anomalies, leaving perhaps 25% for surgical separation.
Born on April 9, 2015, to a tribal couple - twins Jagga and Balia, were born via normal delivery from a mother in Kandhamal district, Odisha. Jagga and Balia were conjoined from their heads since birth. On August 28, 2017, a battery of doctors working round the clock at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi began the extraordinarily complicated process of separating the twins. Following their separation, Jagga and Balia were kept under observation in Delhi for two years. After spending two years at the hospital, Now they are back in Srirama Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, Odisha, where they are undergoing care and rehabilitation.
Dr Deepak Gupta, Professor of Neurosurgery, who conducted the marathon separation surgery along with a multidisciplinary team, said: "It was not an easy task. Those were restless days and sleepless night, because, it was a surgical separation of two brains. These twins shared not only brains with each other, but they also were sharing their blood circulation. For any pediatric neuro- surgeon, it is a once in a lifetime surgery. We often address them as AIIMS Twins."
During the surgery, Jagga had a cardiac arrest. While he was revived in 15 minutes, he suffered renal damage and required dialysis for almost a week. Balia, who suffered seizures, needed incubation, and continues to be "neurologically disabled". Says Dr Gupta, Applauding this rare feat, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare stated that the doctors of AIIMS have demonstrated extraordinary talent, expertise, determination and compassion in achieving it.