Bhubaneswar: The rare craniopagus surgery conducted successfully by a team led by eminent neurosurgeon Prof. Ashok Kumar Mahapatra at AIIMS in New Delhi in 2017 has featured in the 2020 edition of the Limca Book of Records.

The team comprising 125 dctors and paramedical staff helped separate 28-month-old Jaga and Balia, conjoined twins from Odisha who were joined to each other at the cranium.

Prof. Mahapatra is presently heading the Medical Program of SOA Deemed to be University here as its Director.

The complex surgery was conducted in two stages, first on August 28, 2017 and then on October 25, 2017 and has been recorded as the first craniopagus surgery in India in the record book.

“It was first successful craniopagus surgery in India,” said Prof. Mahapatra at a presser, here on Tuesday.

“The facilities and expertise available at AIIMS in New Delhi made it possible,” he said adding his colleague Prof. Deepak Kumar Gupta and a large number of doctors and paramedics toiled hard to separate the twins.

One of the features of the surgery was that a vein taken from the vein bank at AIIMS was grafted in Balia’s brain as the children shared only one vein and it was the first such case of vein grafting in the world, he said.

  After Jaga and Balia were admitted in AIIMs, a preliminary assessment was made to ascertain whether they could stand the arduous surgical processes. “We decided to go ahead after the twins were made to undergo all tests under anesthesia conducted on July 26, 2017 over a 12-hour period.”

 Prof. Mahapatra said the team constituted to take up the surgical separation took advice from Prof. James T. Goodrich, a famous paediatric neurosurgeon at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, as he had done two such surgeries earlier and was considered the top most expert in the field in the world.

“We spent time gathering as much information about fused brains as possible and conducted three dry runs before the actual surgery was performed,” he said adding “we knew that all our efforts could yield 20-25 per cent success.”

But the entire team in AIIMS gave its 100 per cent which hugely contributed to the success of the surgery, Prof. Mahapatra said.

Chances of such cases occurring was one in three million and barely 12 or 13 such surgeries had been done in the world during the last 33 years, he said.

 Jaga and Balia, who spent over two years in AIIMS, New Delhi before returning to Odisha were doing well though Balia’s development was slow. “We should give them two to three years time to see how they improved,” he said.