Conjoined Twins To Be Separated This Week

Doctors at The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne have set a date to separate conjoined twins Nima and Dawa.

The operation is expected to take place on Friday and if all goes to plan it will take about six hours.

The surgery has been delayed twice because the girls were not strong enough for the life-saving operation, but operating surgeon Dr Joe Crameri believes they are now ready.

"I know that two false starts is not a good way to go, but we feel reasonably confident that the operation will take place this Friday," he said.

Eighteen medical staff, including two anesthetic teams, will be involved in the operation.

"It is essentially one child splitting into two, we have to change one operating theatre into two operating theatres in the middle," Crameri said.

Nima and Dawa are joined from the chest to the bottom of the heart and images show they share a liver. It is possible they may also share a bowel.

"What we want is complete separation, with two girls that are then totally independent," Crameri said.

"So they are not sacrificing something to get that separation."

READ MORE: Mum Of Conjoined Twins Nima And Dawa 'Anxious But Confident' About Surgery

The girls' mother, Bjumchu Zangmo, has previously said she was anxious about the surgery, but confident about its success.

"I'm a little anxious because of the surgery, but at the same time I'm happy that the surgery is happening soon," she told media in October, speaking through an interpreter.

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"I feel the doctors here in Australia are the best in the world, and I have all my confidence that the operation will be successful."

The twins will remain in hospital for a lengthy stay after the surgery for physical rehabilitation, as they learn to live life as individuals.