NEW DELHI (AP) – An American neurosurgeon said Tuesday he believes 10-year-old Indian twins joined at the skull could survive surgery to separate them, but that he will wait for more test results before deciding to perform the complex operation.

Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, made the announcement as doctors waited for the parents of sisters Saba and Farah to give the go-ahead.

“If everything goes the way we plan, I expect they will both be alive” after the surgery, Carson, an international authority on conjoined twins, told reporters.

With help from teams in Denver and at New Delhi’s Indraprastha Apollo hospital, where the sisters are staying, Carson plans to conduct the operation in India – a first for South Asia.

In their hospital ward, Saba and Farah sat on a bed, their eyes painted with traditional Indian decoration. Their father, Mohammed Shakeel, says the twins are very different.

“Saba loves rice – Farah likes bread. If one sleeps, the other is awake. One falls sick, the other doesn’t,” he said.

Shakeel said he would make up his mind about the surgery after talking with his mother and wife when he returns home to Patna, capital of the impoverished eastern state of Bihar.

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