I recently saw a program on one of the science channels about conjoined twins. They used to be called Siamese twins and years ago they were such an oddity that they usually ended up in the circus freak show.
The twins on the program were joined head-to-head, from top to top. Even in conjoined twin cases this is a rare occurrence. There was some difference of opinion among the surgeons as to whether they should be surgically separated or not. Since they share some common brain tissue, the surgery could leave them brain damaged, paralyzed, or worse yet, dead.
Other than being conjoined at the head, the twins are perfectly healthy. They would have to be cared for the rest of their lives, but many conjoined twins lead a perfectly happy life not being separated. It’s a hard decision for the parents and the doctors to make.
But being conjoined is not the only problems that mothers have who are carrying twins. The rate of pregnancy that involve twins has increased 70 percent in the past few years, probably because of the increase in the use of fertility drugs. There also has been an increase in multiple births involving more than two.
According to Ivanhoe.com: “The increase in multiples has also led to a rise in a deadly complication during pregnancy called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. A new laser surgery is saving babies and giving families new hope.”
One of the complications of one of the twins not receiving enough blood flow besides the obvious one is that they both may go into heart failure and die.
Twin to twin transfusion syndrome is where the twins share a common placenta and blood flows back and forth between the two. But the problem is that one baby may receive too much blood, depriving the other of it. Surgery is the only option in these cases if both of the babies are to be saved.
Now less intrusive laser surgery is being used instead of conventional surgery. There has been a 90% success rate in saving one of the babies and a 74% success rate in saving both with the new laser surgery. The condition occurs in 15 percent of the babies that have a common placenta.
I consider laser surgery to be one of the miracles of modern medicine. I rank it right up there with the X-ray. It is being used more and more in modern surgery. Everything from removing growths to correcting vision problems in the retina and saving sight. Now with saving twins add one more to the list. And if that doesn’t qualify as a miracle, then I don’t know what does.