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Bhubaneswar: The successful craniopagus surgery that separated conjoined twins Jaga and Kalia who were joined at the head, in 2017 has featured in the 2020 edition of the Limca Book of Records as the first such operation in the country.

Led by neurosurgeons Prof Ashok Kumar Mahapatra and Dr Deepak Kumar Gupta, a team of 125 doctors and paramedical staff separated 28-month-old conjoined twins hailing from Odisha's Kandhamal district, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

"Congratulations! We are happy to inform you that your record is featured in the 2020 edition of Limca Book of Records," an e-mail sent to Gupta by Limca Book of Record Editorial Executive Tresa Benjamin, said.

The complex surgery was conducted in two stages, first on August 28, 2017 and then on October 25, 2017 and has been recorded as the first craniopagus surgery in India in the record book.

"It was a big challenge for us. It was also the first successful craniopagus surgery in India," Mahapatra who was the head of neurosurgery department at the AIIMS at that time, told reporters here.

One of the features of the surgery was that a vein taken from the vein bank at the AIIMS was grafted in Kalia's brain as the children shared only one vein and it was the first such case of vein grafting in the world, Mahapatra said.

The team took advice from Prof James T Goodrich, a New York based paediatric neurosurgeon, who had conducted two such surgeries and was considered an expert in this field in the world, he said.

Barely 12 or 13 such surgeries had been carried out across the world during the last 33 years, he said.

Mahapatra has retired and currently associated with a private university here. Gupta was not available for comment.

Jaga and Kalia spent over two years in the AIIMS, New Delhi, before returning to Odisha. They were in a hospital and doing well though Kalia's development is stated to be slow.

"We should give them two to three years to see how they improved," Mahapatra said.

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