Surgery to separate two German twins who are joined at the head was halted on Saturday evening due to complications affecting one of the girls, Johns Hopkins Medical Institute said on Sunday.
The complicated operation to separate the 13-month-old twins, Lea and Tabea Block, from Lemgo, Germany, began on Saturday at about 12:30 p.m. at the hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and was temporarily halted about 7 1/2 hours later, John Hopkins said in a statement.
It said one of the girls was suffering from “metabolic complications,” but did not elaborate.
“The twins are currently stable and are being kept under anesthesia to enable their bodies to rest and heal,” Johns Hopkins said. “The team is confident that the twins are strong.”
It added that surgery could resume within a week if the girls remain stable.
The Block twins are joined at the top of their heads, a condition known as “craniopagus twins,” and share several blood vessels between their brains.
The surgery, if successfully undertaken in a single operation, was expected to last from 24 to 48 hours. It was being led by Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Children’s Center at the prestigious medical institution.
On June 9 the twins underwent a preliminary surgery to insert tissue expanders beneath their scalps, which Johns Hopkins officials said went well.
Over the course of the following weeks sterile fluid was injected into the expanders, which gradually stretched the skin, with the stated goal of having enough skin to cover the surgical site on each girl once they were separated.
Johns Hopkins also cancelled a press conference scheduled for Monday, which was slated to follow the surgery’s completion.