Inside the 27-hour operation to separate conjoined twins | News


Sixteen years ago, surgeons Owase Jeelani and David Dunaway attempted an operation that had never before been tried in the UK: separating a pair of conjoined twins attached at the head. It was 2006, and despite working at a world-leading hospital for conjoined twin care — Great Ormond Street in London — neither they, nor anyone else, had worked on craniopagus twins.

“It was a kind of journey into the unknown and actually went much better than it deserved to,” says Dunaway, 66, head of the craniofacial unit at Great Ormond Street.

Craniopagus twins are so rare, with such a poor chance of survival, that there was scant research to draw on in attempting the surgery. Many questions loomed over how such a procedure should