Bhutanese twins who underwent separation surgery in Melbourne are enjoying their new independence but still want to be close to each other, according to their nurses.
Previously conjoined sisters Nima and Dawa were successfully separated at the Royal Children's Hospital last week.
The 15-month-old girls were joined from the lower chest to just above the pelvis. They shared a liver, but doctors started the procedure unsure if they also shared a bowel.
Joe Crameri, the head of pediatric surgery at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital, said there were no major problems with the bowel attachment.
The major challenge had been to reconstruct the twins' abdomens.
"There weren't any things inside the girls' tummies that we weren't really prepared for."
Nurse co-ordinator Kellie Smith said the pair were a delight to look after and their personalities were shining through.
"They're really cheeky, they're not far from one another at any time at all and they're still in the same bed," she said today.
"We try to have them a little bit apart, but they manage to bum shuffle back together and have their legs intertwined, always," she said.
Another nurse who has been overseeing the twins said despite being separated, the pair still want to be close.
"Nima, I would say she wants to be closer to Dawa, than what Dawa does to Nima," nurse Megan Collins said.
"Dawa is kind of being a little bit more active at the moment and a bit more cheeky."
Crameri said the girls had been progressing and healing well.
"The areas we tampered with during the surgery are healing well and the girls are getting back to a more normal life," he said.
"The area that we repaired on their tummy wall seems to be dealing with the strain quite well."
The girls are expected to remain in hospital for a little while, but Crameri couldn't say yet when they'd return to Kilmore to recover or home to Bhutan.
Mum Bhumchu Zangmo was overjoyed and relieved her daughters were doing well, Children First Foundation executive Elizabeth Lodge said.
The foundation helped bring the girls and their mother to Australia for the life changing surgery.
"She's very relieved, incredibly grateful and she has amazing support from the Bhutanese community here as well," Lodge said.
"They're enjoying their independence but … they're also enjoying having proximity to each other and (are) still able to pull each other's hair, which is lovely," she said.
The girls and their mother arrived in Australia in October but had to wait weeks for the surgery as the twins had to build up strength.
The girls' surgery and recovery is estimated to cost at least A$350,000 ($375,000) which the foundation is confident of raising through community donations.
Nine years ago, surgeons at the same hospital successfully separated Bangladeshi 3-year-old sisters Trishna and Krishna, who had been joined at the head.