Conjoined twins successfully separated by surgery in Australia

Nima and Dawa have been successfully separated. Source AAPMore

Nima and Dawa have been successfully separated. Source AAPMore

Twins Nima and Dawa at a previous visit to the hospital.

"We could certainly see today the value of the girls having that time with Children First and building up their strength and I think that will significantly help them with their recovery", Dr Crameri said.

Surgeons were also able to divide the liver without compromising the girls, and are hopeful they will not have to spend time in ICU.

Surgeons in Australia have begun separating conjoined twins from Bhutan in a delicate operation expected to last most of the day.

The 15-month-old girls, Nima and Dawa, are joined at the torso and share a liver and possibly a bowel.

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Crameri said if there were any unexpected problems during the operation, the hospital had all the resources and experts on hand that it would need.

As well as the issues with mobility and comfort, Lodge said the twins had recently been losing weight, which had been a concern to doctors who are now observing them closely.

The family was brought to Australia from Bhutan by Children First Foundation, an Australian-based charity.

They headed into the theatre at 8am on Friday, with doctors administering the anaesthestic about 8.45am.

Before the operation, their mother was "a little bit scared" but "very pleased" that the time to split up her daughters had finally arrived, according to spokesperson for the charity that funded the twins' flight to Australia and their surgery.

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In 2009, doctors at RCHM successfully separated conjoined Bangladeshi twins, Trishna and Krishna in a 25-hour surgery. "She tends to ... always be on the top, pulling rank, as we say, and Dawa's more placid", the spokesperson said.

"She still has this extraordinary calmness about her, which is just awesome".

Doctors said they were confident the twins were now ready for the operation.

Sherub first met the girls when they were only a day old and played a major role in getting the twins to Australia, having already spent time in the country as the victor of a medical scholarship.

"The muscles in their limbs have not been used so far, because they have not learnt to crawl and do the usual stuff kids at this stage do", Dr. Sherbub explained.

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About 18 specialists in two teams, one for each girl, took part in the procedure at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.

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