Update: Indian girl survives separation surgery

I recently posted a “Headline of the Day” about an eight-armed girl from India undergoing surgery to separate her from her parasitic conjoined twin. The least I could do, for the sake of decency, is include a note that it appears all went as well as it could. Young Lakshmi Tatma survived the 27-hour surgical process that has, so far, been hailed a success. Yesterday, the family made its first public appearance. Lindsay McIntosh writes for the Scotsman:

The youngster, who was named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth, appeared subdued – although her mother said she was “behaving exactly like her old self” – and her legs were in a blue cast.

A week ago, medics operated for 27 hours to remove what amounted to Lakshmi’s headless identical twin sister, who was joined at the pelvis and who did not develop and separate properly in the womb. The rare birth defect is known as a parasitic twin.

As well as cutting off the extra limbs, surgeons also removed extra internal organs and corrected a deformed skeleton.

Dr Sharan Patil, who led a surgical team of about 30 at the Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore, said: “All the surgeons’ lives have been enriched by our contact with Lakshmi and I really feel it has been our privilege. By no means are we completely done with Lakshmi but so far, so good.”

The BBC reported last week that doctors “hoped the procedure will allow her to survive beyond adolescence”.

Lakshmi Tatma with father, after surgery

Lakshmi Tatma, before surgery

CT scan of Lakshmi Tatma before surgery

Photos, clockwise from top left: Lakshmi with mother before surgery; Lakshmi appears in public with father after surgery; CT scan of Lakshmi Tatma before surgery. (Click for related content.)