Hadassah

Hadassah Specialists Separate Conjoined Twins: A Jerusalem First

Sunday, Jan 15 2012

For the first time in Jerusalem, twin fetuses that share a blood vessel were successfully separated by Hadassah University Medical Center specialists.

Through a complex laser procedure, guided by a sophisticated ultrasound machine, Hadassah's Dr. Yuval Gielchinsky, a specialist in fetal medicine, working with Fetal Anesthesiologist Dr. Yehuda Ginnosar, separated the twin's blood vessels. Dr. Gielchinksy, who also holds a doctorate in molecular biology, studied under Prof. Kypros Nicolaide, world-renowned fetal medicine expert at King's College, London.

The 30-minute procedure, which involved inserting a very small scope fitted with a very thin laser fiber into the mother's uterus, enabled Dr. Gielchinksy to burn the vessels and create a separate connection to the placenta for each of the fetuses. One day later, the mother was discharged from the hospital and the twins are expected to develop normally! The condition, called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), can prove fatal if the shared blood vessel favors one twin over the other as the pregnancy progresses.

Adding a dimension to the story is the fact that the Palestinian mother came to Hadassah as a result of a friendship between Dr. Gielchinsky and a Palestinian colleague he trained with in London. The colleague, Dr. Firas Jawdat of Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital in Jerusalem, had called Dr. Gielchinksy to ask if he could bring his patient to Hadassah because he did not have the necessary equipment to perform the procedure. The women came from a Palestinian village near Ramallah. Hadassah Hospital administrators quickly approved and achieved approval of the Israel Civil Authority.

"I'm proud to have done the first procedure in Jerusalem of this kind and to be able to provide this service to the people of our region," Dr. Gielchinksy said.

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