MELBOURNE: Bangladeshi twins Trishna and Krishna are out of intensive care and seeing each other for the first time as they make an "amazing" recovery from surgery to separate their conjoined heads, doctors said Tuesday.
The girls, rescued from a Dhaka orphanage, were playing and watching DVDs after moving to a shared room on the normal ward, just a week after the high-risk operation to separate their fused skulls and brains.
The two-year-olds were in "fantastic" shape and showing no evidence of any brain damage, said Melbourne Children's Hospital chief of surgery Leo Donnan, explaining that they were moved on Monday.
"These little girls are doing everything they were doing beforehand, their function, their communication and their interaction with each other," Donnan told reporters.
"The exciting thing is they're now starting to play ... (it's a) pretty amazing thing to see."
Donnan said he had been taken aback at their rapid progress, with Trishna, who previously took nutrition from her sister, starting to eat on her own for the first time.
"She's taking little bits of bread and little bits of fruit (and) she's never had an appetite before," he said.
"It's been a remarkably smooth process and they've been very happy and obviously day by day they're improving."
He added that the girls would be closely watched over a period of weeks, months or even years for signs of psychological shock arising from their separation.
"They are very conscious of each other, they can see each other," he said.
"A lot of medications are still on board, they're still adjusting their systems but they can certainly see each other, they can certainly communicate with each other."
The immediate focus remains on healing their wounds, bound by huge head bandages, he said. The girls were joined by the top and back of the head, meaning they had never seen each other before.
"Our primary aim now is to get them through the healing process safely, and then they will go into an environment with each other, with their carers who will go through the emotional side of it," Donnan said.
Trishna and Krishna's condition has amazed medical staff who have cared for them since their arrival in fading health from Bangladesh two years ago.
They were given just a 25 percent chance of both recovering completely from the notoriously difficult surgery, which lasted 32 hours and involved some 16 specialists.
Meanwhile the girls' 22-year-old mother, who was unable to care for the sickly babies and handed them to an orphanage soon after their birth, has said she hopes to travel to Australia to see them.
"No mother in the world could be as proud as me. I always knew that they would get separated. I just knew everything would be OK in the end for my girls," she told AFP in Dhaka.