A team of surgeons in Saudi Arabia have successfully separated conjoined twins in a 14 hour operation.
The Libyan twins, Ahmed and Mohammed, were born in Tripoli in June and were joined at the lower abdomen and pelvis.
Each was born with one lower limb, sharing a third deformed lower limb. They also shared a large intestine, anus and pelvic bones.
A team of 35, including surgeons, doctors, technicians and nurses, successfully separated the twins at King Abdullah Specialist Children's Hospital in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency said on Thursday.
At the hospital, the father of the boys broke down in tears after he met his sons following the operation. He tearfully thanked Dr Abdullah Alrabeeah, who led the medical team.
"To see Mohammad wrapped separately, I couldn't believe it, my prayers go to the doctor and his team, may their successes continue,” the mother of the boys said, according to Arab News.
While doctors expressed confidence that the operation would succeed, it remained a risky procedure. Dr Alrabeeah estimated that there was a 70 per cent likelihood of success.
The operation was carried out in 11 stages. It is the 48th procedure successfully completed under the Kingdom’s conjoined twins separation programme, with patients coming from 21 countries.
Conjoined twins are very rare - it is thought one in every 200,000 births - and around 40 to 60 per cent of these births are delivered stillborn.
“This case comes from Libya, a country that is enduring big challenges,” Dr Alrabeeah said.
“It is due to our leadership’s initiative that the twins are here, to ease the suffering of the twins and of their parents - one of the humane touches of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Following the operation, the twins were taken to intensive care to begin their recovery.