(MENAFN - Arab News) Surgery to separate conjoined twins, Abdullah and Salman, an operation undertaken at the order of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, began at the National Guards' King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh on Friday.
Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah heads the surgical team, which includes 30 specialists in addition to other medical staff.
The nine-hour surgery on the twins involves eight stages beginning with complete anesthetizing of the patients. The actual separation begins in the fourth stage of the operation. The next stage involves the repair of the separated parts, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Preliminary investigations show that the surgery has a 70 percent possibility of success. Medical and nursing students are also present at the theater.
With its advanced facilities and experienced doctors, the King Abdulaziz Medical City occupies a prominent place globally in the field of separating Siamese twins with a record 28 successful operations.
Al-Rabeeah was recently awarded the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Science in appreciation of his contributions to the development of the health sector and to other humanitarian medical services on a global level. This award is for distinguished personalities who have dedicated their lives to the development of medical science in the Arab region.
Since its establishment in 1990, around 28 physicians and volunteers have won the prize. Winners have included Americans, Britons, Australians, Italians, Germans and a Finn besides winners from the Middle East.
Al-Rabeeah became the Kingdom's health minister in 2009. Prior to his appointment as minister, he was the chief executive officer of National Guard Health Affairs at the King Abdulaziz Medical City.
Globally renowned for the separation of conjoined twins, Al-Rabeeah has successfully separated conjoined twins from countries such as Poland, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
Al-Rabeeah performed the first separation surgery at Riyadh's King Faisal Specialist Hospital in December 1990. The operation, which was successful, was performed on Saudi twin girls joined at the stomach.
Under the leadership of Al-Rabeeah, Saudi Arabia has built a team of top surgeons specialized in the separation of twins. In total, team members have experience treating 63 twins from 17 countries.