Surgeons have spoken of their joy after the successful separation of conjoined Bhutanese twins Nima and Dawa in Melbourne.
A team of medical experts emerged from theatre on Friday afternoon after the six-hour procedure proudly declaring the 15-month-old girls are no longer connected.
The sisters, who were joined at the torso and shared a liver, are in recovery and breathing independently following the operation, which involved up to 25 surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists.
Images shared by the Royal Children's Hospital show the girls lying on separate beds for the first time in their short lives.
Head of paediatric surgery Dr Joe Crameri, who led the operation, said there had been no surprises despite fears the girls' bowel were shared.
"We were very fortunate in that there wasn't any significant bowel attachment and while it was all swimming next to one another it wasn't actually connected in any major way," Dr Crameri told reporters.
"And really the main challenge today, as we thought, was getting the abdomen reconstructed so both areas were closed over."
Mother Bhumchu Zangmo, who brought Nima and Dawa to Australia in October, was said to be very relieved after being told the girls are likely to have a "good result".
"It is a relief and it's also a joy," Dr Crameri said following the operation.
"There's nothing better with any operation than to be able to go to the parents and say we've been able to look after your child, we've been able to do what we set out to do and that we feel confident that they will be able to recover from this and go forward."
It is hoped the girls will not have to spend time in ICU but they will be closely monitored over the next 24 to 48 hours and are expected to be in hospital for about a week.
Nima and Dawa have been staying at the Children First Foundation retreat in Kilmore since coming to Australia.
Their operation was previously postponed after last-minute checks revealed the sisters were not ready, giving them more time to gain weight and grow stronger.
"We could certainly see today the value of the girls having that time with Children First and building up their strength and I think that will significantly help them with their recovery," Dr Crameri said.
The procedure and recovery are expected to cost at least $350,000 and the state government has offered to pay the bill.
Other funds raised will go towards the twins' rehabilitation and return home.
Australian Associated Press