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Conjoined Twins



Operation begins on conjoined twins

"Surgeons at a Los Angeles hospital have begun a rare operation to separate twin girls who are joined by the top of their heads.
The skulls of the one-year-old girls, originally from Guatemala, are fused with their faces tilted in opposite directions.

"Although they can hold hands, the girls have yet to see each other face to face.

"The surgery began 0800 (1500 GMT) and will last more than 10 hours and involve more than 50 medical staff. "


Fingers crossed they pull through....
That is so sad, but then what kind of life would they have joined that way? I saw a prog once about Siamese twins and these two women were attached at the head. It was normal to them but I just can't imagine going through life like that.
There were some a while back who were sharing a heart (I think) and although they were separated, one died, which was unavoidable. I remember hearing that the little girl kept looking beside her for her sister, like she was trying to figure out where she was. :(
The link has been updated - seems the surgery was a success.

I imagine it's going to seem weird to them for a while.

Iranian conjoined twins, age 29, risk separation surgery

For 29 years they have eaten together, studied together, prayed together, even breathed in the same air - forced to live as one by a twist of fate. But at 1 o'clock this morning, Laden and Laleh Bijani were due to be put under anaesthetic at the start of a grim ordeal that could leave either or both of them dead - or liberated to begin a new and independent life.

They were born in southern Tehran in 1974. They have very different personalities and different friends. Laden is bubbly and talkative and is determined to become a lawyer. That meant that Laleh was forced to study law as well.

Each twin has a 50-50 chance of survival.
They must REALLY want this.
This story has really upset me, I suppose because it could have no other conclusion. The surgery was extremely dangerous but still they couldn't bear to live as they were.


I may have the names wrong but didn't Sasha and Pasha the Russian conjoined twins die recently?? Again, a terribly sad story living out their last years in an institution.........
It's so sad. We take the relative perfection of our bodies for granted and have what these two girls were willing to risk their lives for.
I think they must have know how great the risk of death was, but they chose to gamble and lost. I salute their bravery. May they rest in peace.
Made me cry whilst driving to Sainsburys. :(

It did make me laugh when I heard the news bulletin on BBC local radio before the operation started, "The twins, who have been joined at the head since birth..." What, as opposed to spontaneously fusing together as children? :rolleyes: Bloody brave women though.
[edit: Brought over from the Teratomas and Parasitic Twins thread:

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=481 ]

Twins' ``usual shtick'' encourages docs after risky surgery

Associated Press Writer

February 21, 2004, 2:56 PM EST

NEW YORK -- The morning after their riskiest operation, two Philippine brothers joined at the top of their heads greeted their delighted doctors with high-fives and "wiggle dances" Saturday, an early sign that they're still on course for separation later this year.

Surgeons at Montefiore Medical Center described Friday's 5{-hour surgery, the boys' third major operation, as "more treacherous than we expected." It included such challenges as having to separate bone from blood vessels and trying not to damage veins with "the consistency of wet toilet paper."

"It's just incredibly moving to see that after this tremendous and delicate operation they're up and breathing on their own," said Dr. David Staffenberg, after looking in on 22-month-old Carl and Clarence Aguirre.

Staffenberg, Montefiore's chief of pediatric neurosurgery, said Carl performed his "wiggle dance" and Clarence offered his "usual shtick" _ which Dr. James Goodrich, the lead neurosurgeon, said included a high-five.

Doctors said it would be 72 hours before the main threat of bleeding and seizures passes, but seemed relieved to have completed the tricky operation, during which one major shared vein and some smaller ones were divided. Had the major vein been punctured, the boys could have bled to death in minutes, Goodrich said.

Goodrich, holding a clear plastic model of the boys' heads that showed the tangle of shared blood vessels, said most of the veins went to Clarence, who had a better circulation system to start with.

The hope is that Carl's other veins will take up the chore of draining blood from the brain, as they did after the first two operations in October and November.

"This is an area where when things go badly they go very, very badly and when things go well they go extremely well," Staffenberg said. He said things went well on Friday, with surgery taking much less than the expected eight to 10 hours.

In each of the three operations, a different window of bone has been cut into the boy's skull, then replaced. Goodrich said just 2 inches to 3 inches remain to complete the circle that will separate the boys.

There is also one more major vein to be cut before the boys can be detached from each other. Doctors said they could not predict whether full separation would occur with the next operation, saying it would depend on how well the boys recover from Friday's surgery.

More operations could be delayed while the boys grow extra skin to cover their heads when they're separated. At some point, tissue expanders will be inserted just under their scalp, then inflated to encourage skin growth.

Other measures to ready Carl and Clarence for independent lives include the use of mirrors and videotapes to show each twin what the other looks like, Goodrich said.

While the boys do look alike, their mother, Arlene, has long believed they are fraternal twins, rather than identical twins, a situation that could be caused when separate fertilized eggs partly combine soon after conception.

Goodrich said the doctors, too, are unsure because of the boys' different personalities and body shapes. DNA tests are under way to determine the boys' relationship. Goodrich said there has never before been a report of conjoined twins, normally produced when a single egg splits incompletely, that are not identical.

The twins and their mother have been staying at the Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla between trips to Montefiore. Both hospitals and the medical team are donating their services.

Doctors decided last year to separate the twins in stages, rather than in a single marathon operation, to give them time to heal between surgeries and to adapt gradually to changes in their circulation systems.


On the Net:

Montefiore Medical Center: http://www.montefiore.org


Emotional Separation

Formerly Conjoined Egyptian Twins Express Unique Personalities as Recovery Continues

Feb. 23 — Four months ago, two little boys took a life-changing step: they were separated for the first time.

"The first time they saw each other they cried," the boys' mother, Sabah Abou el-Wafa, told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America through a a translator.

Twins Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim, were separated in 34-hour surgery at Children's Medical Center Dallas in October.

Now the two boys, who couldn't even look into each others' eyes four months ago, are walking, playing, and talking with one another.

Dr. Kenneth Salyer, the craniofacial surgeon whose organization, the World Cranialfacial Foundation, brought the boys from Egypt to Dallas for the risky surgery, says the boys give everyone they touch a renewed sense of hope.

"The prognosis is excellent," Salyer said. We are very encouraged. We are very hopeful that they will end up as two boys with very normal lives," he said.

Not long ago, when they were conjoined at the very top of their heads, the boys would reach out over their heads, to touch and communicate with each other. Now, they reach toward each other to play, face-to-face, and to help each other along.

The boys' parents say they are each becoming their own person. Everyone agrees that Mohamed is the leader of the two, a natural-born flirt.

"They both have their own personalities," said the boys' father, Ibrahim Mohamed Ibrahim.

"Mohamed is more active. I was surprised that Mohamed was so smart. Ahmed is laid back and always thinking," he said.

Ibrahim said he and his wife chose America over Japan and Singapore when they decided to go through with the operation.

He says he is happy with his decision since Salyer approached the boys as a father would, not just as a doctor.

After the twins get customized helmets, to protect their skulls, doctors plan to let the boys live outside the hospital.

For now, the boys' mother and father spend the better part of their days at the North Texas Hospital for Children, where the boys were moved for their recovery.

Mom spends the night in Mohamed's room, while Dad sleeps in Ahmed's room.

In six months, the boys are scheduled for more surgeries, which will involve the rebuilding of their skulls.

To find out more about the World Cranialfacial Foundation, go to http://www.egyptiantwins.com

Conjoined Twins And The Future Of Normal

Source: Michigan State University

Fri 07-May-2004, 07:00 ET

New Book Challenges Perceptions of Anatomical Differences

'Why not change minds instead of bodies?' That's the question Michigan State University¹s Alice D. Dreger poses in 'One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal,' a book that challenges the way so-called 'normal' people perceive those with 'abnormal' anatomies.

'Why not change minds instead of bodies?'

That's the question Michigan State University¹s Alice D. Dreger poses in 'One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal,' a book that challenges the way so-called 'normal' people perceive those with 'abnormal' anatomies.

In 'One of Us,' Dreger, an associate professor of science and technology in MSU's Lyman Briggs School of Science and faculty associate in MSU's Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, looks at the history, ethics and cultural meanings of our attitude toward people whose bodies don't conform to what is generally considered normal.

She said one of her goals with the book is to get people to think more broadly about the way that science is challenging our traditional understanding of what a 'normal' body means.

'One of Us' (Harvard University Press) focuses much of its attention on conjoined twins, or what used to be known as 'Siamese twins.' However, Dreger said she uses the examples of conjoined twins to relate to other types of anatomies not considered normal, including intersex, dwarfism and giantism.

'I use conjoinment as a lens to understand what our bodies mean to ourselves _and what they should mean in terms of our social rights and our medical care,' she said. 'Today, there¹s a lot of interest in conjoined twins. What I'd like to do is harness that interest to a serviceable end.'

Starting with Chang and Eng Bunker, the conjoined-twin brothers from Siam who became celebrities in the 19th century, ³One of Us² provides a look at the history and cultural meanings surrounding perceptions of 'abnormal' anatomy. It also provides thought-provoking insight into the ethics of trying to change these anatomies to better conform to what is considered normal.

'Sometimes separating conjoined twins is the right choice and sometimes it¹s not,' she said. 'What makes it acceptable? There are a lot of questions that have to be asked before you separate, including what the children themselves might want, were they to grow up conjoined. In most cases, historically speaking, conjoined twins haven¹t chosen to be separated.'

Today, one in 50,000 to 200,000 births are conjoined twins. Most of those, perhaps 75 percent, die shortly after birth. Increasingly, conjoined twins are aborted after being diagnosed during pregnancy.

In addition to offering historical and ethical perspectives on conjoined twins and other different anatomies, ³One of Us² also peeks ahead to the 21st century. In the final chapter of the book, titled 'The Future of Anatomy,' Dreger quotes W.E.B. DuBois¹s assertion that the problem of the 20th century was the problem of the color line.

I think the problem of the 21st century is the anatomy and identity line,' she said. 'What is it going to mean to take those old assumptions and throw our new knowledge at it? Given what we're learning from science and what anatomy does and doesn¹t know, how will we organize our social world?'

The title of the book comes from the 1932 cult film 'Freaks,' a story that tells of a normal-bodied woman who joins a circus sideshow troupe populated by a variety of unusual-anatomied people, including conjoined twins. By the end of the film, with the circus troupe chanting ³one of us,² the woman has become one of the sideshow exhibits.

Dreger, an MSU faculty member since 1996, also is the author of
'Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex,' also published by Harvard University Press.
Just playing abit of ctahc up on this story with a couple of earlier reprots:

Doctors Prepare To Separate Area's Conjoined Twins

Wednesday June 02, 2004 9:19am

Washington (AP) - The area's first surviving conjoined twins in more than two decades are scheduled to be surgically separated later this month at Children's Hospital in Northwest.

Jade and Erin Buckles of Woodbridge are connected from the miDChest to the mid-abdomen. Each has her own limbs. They were born February 26th at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

The main thing the girls' share is a liver. Surgeons tell The Washington Post the most difficult task will be dividing it safely, without causing too much damage to a network of large arteries and veins.

The Post reports doctors have recently inserted two-inch-long plastic devices beneath the surface of the girls' shared skin to force the infants to grow more of the tissue needed to make the June 12th operation a success.

Doctors describe both girls as "tough little kids."



Conjoined Twins To Be Separated Next Week

Saturday June 05, 2004 12:20pm

Bethesda (AP) - Doctors will perform surgery next Saturday to separate conjoined twins who share a liver, a diaphragm and a saclike structure surrounding their hearts.

Jade and Erin Buckles, born Feb. 26 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., are joined from the miDChest to the mid-abdoman. Each twin has her own heart, and her own limbs.

Doctors told The Washington Post that the most difficult part of the surgery will be to safely divide the girls' liver without hitting a vessel and causing major bleeding.

After the twins are separated, doctors will have to close large openings on the girls created by the procedure. Doctors have implanted tissue expanders around the area where the twins are joined in hopes of having enough skin to close their wounds after the surgery.

The girls' mother, Melissa Buckles, is an elementary school teacher, and their father, Kevin Buckles, is a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps. The couple also has a 2-year-old daughter.

Conjoined twins occur about once in every 200,000 births.


and the current one:

Va. Couple Brace for Conjoined Girls' Separation

Friday June 18, 2004 6:47am

Washington (AP) - Doctors at Children's Hospital will try to separate a set of conjoined twins Saturday.

3 1/2-month-old Jade and Erin Buckles of Woodbridge are joined at the abdomen. They were originally scheduled to be separated last Saturday, but Doctor Gary Hartman delayed the operation so the girls would be able to grow more skin to close the surgical openings.

They've been preparing for the operation at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, where the twins were delivered.

Surgeons have implanted four "tissue expanders" in girls' abdomens - inflatable plastic reservoirs that have been slowly injected with water to stretch the overlying skin and make it grow.


Aguirre Twins Successfully Seperated

(See Emp's post from June, above)

Twins From Philippines 'Stable' Post-Op

NEW YORK (AP) - Two-year-old twins from the Philippines born with the tips of their heads fused together were ``strong and stable'' after being separated in a marathon operation that stretched into early Thursday.

Surgeons, nurses and technicians applauded in the operating room after Carl and Clarence Aguirre were surgically separated at 10:32 p.m. Wednesday, said Steve Osborne, a spokesman for the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center.

The operation, which continued for several hours after the separation, was completed at 3:20 a.m. Thursday, Osborne said. Dr. David Staffenberg, the boys' plastic surgeon, said the boys were ``strong and stable.''

Staffenberg delivered the news of the separation to the twins' mother, Arlene Aguirre, in a private waiting area. He got on his knees, took Aguirre's hands and said ``You're now the mother of two boys,'' said hospital spokeswoman Pamela Adkins.

Aguirre burst into tears, she said.

Doctors teased apart abutting portions of the boys' brains after completing an incision around their skull, and the twins' head-to-head operating tables were then slightly pulled apart, said Osborne.

Reconstruction of the boys' skulls, a major project, is to be left for later.

The separation was the culmination of a gradual surgical approach that lasted 10 months, a departure from the more common marathon operations that have separated other conjoined twins.

It is likely to be months before the twins' conditions can be fully assessed, their doctors said. In the past, separation was considered a success if both twins simply survived. But Montefiore's goal for the Aguirre boys, who have never been able to sit up, stand straight or look at each other's face, was ``viable, independent lives.''

Over four major surgeries since October, the boys' separate-but-touching brains were gently pushed apart and the tangle of blood vessels they shared were cut and divided.

Between surgeries, the boys were given time to heal and to adapt to their rerouted circulation systems. Originally, veins near Clarence's brain were doing much of the circulation work for both boys, but scans showed dormant veins on Carl's side had ``plumped up'' and begun working in response to the surgery, lead surgeon Dr. James Goodrich said last week.

Arlene Aguirre, the boys' mother, and her mother, Evelyn Aguirre, were at the hospital throughout the operation, getting occasional updates from the doctors.

They had sent the feisty dark-haired boys into the operating room with tearful kisses at about 7:30 a.m. Arlene Aguirre placed a small figure of the Virgin Mary on her sons' gurney, and it stayed with them, on an instrument cart, through the surgery.

The doctors, as well as Montefiore and Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla, where the twins have been living between surgeries and receiving physical therapy, have donated their services.

On the Net:

Montefiore Medical Center, http://www.montefiore.org

08/05/04 04:57

© Copyright The Associated Press.

A sad story (picture attached):

Chances 'slim' for survival of two-headed baby

From AFP
August 27, 2004

AN Afghan woman has given birth in Iran to twin boys whose heads share the same body, doctors said today.

The babies stood little chance of survival, they added. "I've seen twin attached by the head or stomach but never a baby with two heads," a female doctor at the Ghaem hospital in the north-western city of Mashhad told AFP by telephone.

"Sometimes one head cries, while the other sleeps," she added.

"For the time being the baby is fine, but the chances of survival are low. In such cases there is too much strain on the heart," lamented the doctor, who was working in the intensive care ward where the twins had been placed.

The mother has been identified as a 45-year-old Afghan, Najmeh Wahedian. The doctor said the heavily conjoined twins, born late on Tuesday in a caesarian section and weighing 4.3kg, has not yet been given a name or names.

The twins, currently in intensive care and dependent on oxygen, are reportedly the eighth and ninth children of the woman.

Photos show an apparently normal torso with two separate heads cramped together on the shoulders.

Medical officials said tests have revealed the baby has two functioning brains, each one controlling its respective side of the body.

In addition, the single torso is said to contain two hearts and two spinal cords.

Hospital staff said they have been inundated with calls and visits since the birth.

In July 2003, Iran was plunged into mourning after Ladan and Laleh Bijani, 29-year-old Iranian women fused at the head since birth, died during a daring operation in Singapore aimed at separating them.

Doctors fear for Tanzanian twins
By Vicky Ntetema
BBC correspondent in Tanzania

The future of conjoined twins in southern Tanzania is uncertain because their lungs have been compressed by the weight of their bodies.

The seven-year-olds, Maria and Consolatha, have separate heads and arms, and are joined from the navel downwards.
Their parents abandoned them after they were born and they have been in the care of Italian missionaries of Consolatha Fathers' Catholic Church in Ikonda village.

One of them has pulmonary problems, and doctors fear that this will affect her sister's life, should her situation get worse.


But the girls do not share their doctors' fears, as they live their life to the full.

In their orange and red dress, with red and white hats, in the style of a Father Christmas hat, they smile showing their small white teeth with a few gaps indicating that they have lost four of their milk teeth.

"I removed them myself as they were shaking badly and became very very loose," Maria shyly tells me in Kiswahili.

The twins are about 14 inches high when they are positioned upright, with their legs lying flat on the floor. They can neither stand nor walk and when they want to move they can only slide on smooth surfaces using their bottom.

Eating for two

Their two legs are longer than the rest of the body.

Maria controls the movements of the right leg, while Consolatha controls the left.

They are sharing organs like the liver, stomach, guts, and lungs, which means that one depends on the other
Dr Rainer Brandl

Another short leg protrudes from their back, but it's non-functional.

They have two heads, two hearts and four arms.

And they share lungs, an abdomen, rectum and anus and urinary passage.

The health of Maria, who has had some breathing problems since birth, but who has a better appetite than her sister, Consolatha, is deteriorating.

Maria has been eating for the two of them until they were five-and-a-half, when Consolatha started to eat on her own.

She is now stronger and healthier than Maria.

Sharing organs

Dr Rainer Brandl told BBC Network Africa that their lungs are sandwiched by their bodies, in such a way that they cannot expand.

Doctors can only hope and pray for the twins' lives, as they cannot separate them.

"When surgeons and consultants in South Africa and Europe were consulted, they said that it is not possible to separate them, because they are sharing organs like the liver, stomach, guts, and lungs, which means that one depends on the other,"
Dr Rainer Brandl.

Dependency is the key word in their life because Maria tells me that when Consolatha wants to go to toilet, Maria would know and inform their carer and vice versa.

"We just know it and accompany each other to the toilet," says Consolatha.

Beating the odds

Maria and Consolatha started school this year.

The hospital's matron, Italian Sister Magda Boscolo, says that the twins have different personalities.

When they were born we did not think that they will survive the next day
Sister Magda Boscolo

Both are very intelligent and strong and that they have beaten all the odds to reach school age.

"When they were born we did not think that they would survive the next day. Now we need to make their lives more comfortable," says Sister Magda.

The girls need regular exercises and the understaffed hospital cannot cope with it.

It has employed a fulltime worker for round-the-clock care.

But because of the weight of the children, four more assistants are required to look after the twins during the day.


They have been recently moved from the hospital to a private house of Bertina Mbilinyi, to be near their school.

Maria says she wants to become a doctor so that she can treat people with headaches and stomach problems and Consolatha wants to become a nun, so she can take care of orphans the way the Italian sisters have taken care of them.

What they need is a special bigger and stronger modern wheelchair
Mrs Mbilinyi

Mrs Mbilinyi, a divorced mother of two teenager boys and who has known the twins from their infancy, says that the twins do not regard themselves as different from the other children in the area.

And their schoolmates treat them as such.

They play with them and help Mrs Mbilinyi with the wheelchair as she takes the girls up the hill to school.

"The children are getting heavier and heavier as they get older and I am not getting younger," she said.

"What they need is a special bigger and stronger modern wheelchair," she adds.

'Full of life'

So do the girls ever quarrel?

"When Maria cannot find her pencil, she pinches and slaps me, accusing me of stealing it," complains Consolatha.

But they quickly make it up and forgive each other, says Maria, with a twinkle in her eye.

The girls are so full of life that they even want to show me their dance. They choose a track from their piano and dance.

They swing from side to side using their hands as legs and dragging their legs to move about in a well choreographed style, swinging their heads from one side to another, according to the rhythm.

But Maria is now breathing heavily and getting tired. And Consolatha knows when to stop for her sister to rest.

As I leave they invite me to their seventh birthday on 19 November. And I wouldn't miss it for anything in the world.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/28 06:51:58 GMT

Chances 'slim' for survival of two-headed baby

There are two girls in America somewhere, one is called Britney, can't remember her sisters name, who share one body. IIRC they are teenagers and are doing very well but I guess each case is very unique.

There was a pair of conjoined twins separated in Auckland a few weeks ago. They were joined at the chest and apparently are doing very well too.

There but for the grace of God.....
Twins assessed for separation surgery
Last Updated Tue, 14 Dec 2004 11:12:43 EST

TORONTO -A pair of conjoined babies from Zimbabwe are being assessed for separation surgery at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

The four-month-old boys, who are joined at the abdomen, arrived with their mother and a nurse on Dec. 2.

Tinashe and Tinotenda were delivered in a rural area by a Canadian doctor working in Zimbabwe.

A team led by Dr. Jack Langer, chief of general surgery, will evaluate the twins' medical condition over the next few weeks.

The boys are the tenth set of conjoined babies to be treated at Sick Kids.

Hospital staff arranged financial assistance through the Herbie Fund, set up to help children around the world get medical treatment not available in their countries.

Written by CBC News Online staff

CBC News
I've been trying to track down news stories about these conjoined twin boys.

Siamese twins Baobao and Beibei are sent to a hospital in Hefei, east China's Anhui Province after they were found abandoned by their parents December 17, 2004. Preliminary checks found that the boys, probably days old, are conjoined at the chest, and doctors will make further medical examination to decide the future treatment plan. The whereabouts of their parents is unknown.

from: China Daily News

There isn't much on this yet. I find their circumstances about being abandoned quite sad but at least they were found safe.

I did find a different cached report that may have already been posted, apologies if it has:

UPDATED: 12:08, July 24, 2004
One of conjoined twin dies in Central China

One of conjoined twin, who survived after an operation to separate her from her sister, died Friday morning in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.

"She died of multi-organ prostration resulted from kidney failure this morning," said Tang Shaotao, a surgeon with Union Hospital in Wuhan who performed the operation.

Her sister died of respiratory failure two days ago, shortly after the twins were separated.

Doctors carried out an emergency operation Wednesday to separate the sisters at chest and abdomen. The operation lasted nearly five and a half hours from 12:30 a.m. to 6:05 p.m.

The twins shared one liver and small intestine, but had separate hearts, lungs, stomachs and spleens, noted Tang.

Tang said both babies were in stable condition when the operation ended.

"But in just 20 minutes, the girl with the lung infection developed breathing problems and her blood pressure started to fluctuate," according to the hospital.

The baby girl died at 6:45 p.m., 40 minutes after the operation.

The twins were born on July 12 in the city of Tianmen and were sent to Union Hospital for a checkup.

China has reported 27 sets of conjoined twins born 1949; 15 pairs have undergone separation operations.

But such a separation operation with large connection area at chest and abdomen when the newborns are only nine days old is the first one ever performed in China, said the local medical sources.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online
Twins on mend after successful separation


POLISH conjoined twins were recovering in intensive care yesterday after being separated by a team of 50 Saudi doctors in an 18-hour operation.

The 13-month-old girls, Daria and Olga Kolacz, were joined at the spine, intestines, urinary system and sexual organs.

After the surgery, their mother, Wieslawa Dabrowska, said the offer of surgery from Saudi Arabia had been "like a fairy tale".

"I trusted and I still trust that everything will be fine," she said. "If I weren’t so terribly tired I would be jumping with joy. Now I can buy the girls separate clothes. I go shopping tomorrow. I am so happy."

Doctors said the two girls would be released from the intensive care unit in about two weeks if no complications occurred.

Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia paid the medical and travel expenses of the twins and their mother after being informed about the case by a Saudi doctor.

This article:

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/interna ... d=10382005
Separated twins 'recovering well'
Two 15-month-old Indonesian conjoined twin girls who were successfully separated in an operation in Singapore are "recovering well", doctors say.
Surgeons separated the girls, who were joined at the hip and abdomen, in a 10-hour operation on Saturday.

"Both woke up this morning and were smiling at their parents," Dr Tan Kai-chah said.

Anggi is breathing on her own but Anjeli remains on a ventilator. They could go home in three weeks.

The operation took place at Singapore's Gleneagles Hospital.

The S$450,000 ($273,000; £150,000) operation was sponsored by wealthy Indonesians and some Singapore medical fees were waived.

Hole in the heart

"I'm so relieved. I'm so happy. It's a miracle," said mother Meng Harmaini.

The separated twins have one leg each but surgeons were happy and surprised that many of the major organs were present in both girls.

They had a full set of organs themselves so now that they are separated they have almost everything that baby girls should have
Edward Kiely, surgeon

Anjeli, the weaker of the girls, has a hole in the heart and doctors say they are not out of danger as complications could still arise.

However, British consultant surgeon, Edward Kiely, said: "I am very hopeful of the outcome... By this time next week if they are in good shape, I can say that they are out of trouble."

The twins come from an impoverished family in the Indonesian city of Medan.

They came to Singapore in February to undergo tests to determine their suitability for surgery.

Singapore has emerged as a leading centre for advanced medical techniques and has now conducted three successful twin separations.

However, the most high-profile operation - on 29-year-old Iranian twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani - ended in tragedy when both died of blood loss in a 52-hour operation in 2003.

The conjoined twins syndrome occurs once in 200,000 live births.

In surgery, one of the twins often dies and only about 20% of separated twins live beyond the age of two.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/w ... 570263.stm
Published: 2005/05/22 08:43:01 GMT

For these girls, a chance to lead separate lives

· Doctors say operation to separate twins is possible
· American to lead Indian team in risky procedure

Randeep Ramesh in New Delhi
Wednesday October 5, 2005
The Guardian

They have never been able to sleep apart, sit upright or see each other face to face. Yet if an operation by a team of doctors from India and the US is successful, two 10-year-old Indian girls joined at the head will finally be able to lead separate lives.

Doctors in New Delhi said yesterday it would be possible to separate Saba and Farah Shakeel, but the decision rested with their father, Mohammed, a roadside food vendor. As the twins appeared before the media, he talked only about their personal preferences. "Saba loves rice, Farah likes bread. If one sleeps, the other is awake. One falls sick, the other doesn't," he said. The family will return to Patna, capital of the impoverished eastern state of Bihar, to consult friends and family.

Benjamin Carson, director of paediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Centre, in Baltimore, Maryland, who is leading the medical team, said the procedure was possible after studying an angiogram of the brains of the twins and consulting doctors at the Indraprastha Apollo hospital in New Delhi. The pioneering US neurosurgeon was flown in after Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, said he would pay for any operation. He had read about the twins in a newspaper.

But doctors said costs were still a concern for the Shakeel family, who need funds to cover the constant shuttling between their home and the capital.

Dr Carson said the operation would be complex but "if everything goes the way we plan, I expect they will both be alive". It would be his sixth such operation, of which two have been successful.

The Indian twins share a blood drainage vessel in the brain - a concern for doctors. Dr Carson said that at each stage of the operation there was a 20% chance of failure, but that without the operation the twins would face a lifetime of procedures.

The problem is that Farah has two kidneys and Saba has none, so Farah's body has to carry her sister's functions. "What we are seeing is evidence of cardiac malfunction in Farah because she is carrying her sister. That will get worse with time," said Dr Carson. He said that even if the twins were separated, Saba would need a kidney transplant from her sister.

Dr Carson made his international reputation a decade ago. In 1997, he led a team of South African doctors in the first successful separation of vertically conjoined twins. His most high-profile medical role was in 2003, when he led the team which made the first attempt to separate adult twins joined at the head. The Iranian women, Laleh and Ladan Bijani, 29, died during the three-day surgery in Singapore. Dr Carson said the Iranian twins were older and had a different configuration of blood vessels, making their operations more difficult than that on Saba and Farah.

Conjoined twins originate from a single fertilised egg, so they are always identical and of the same sex. The number of twins joined at the skull worldwide is believed to be between 10 and 20. Dr Carson said the operation on Saba and Farah would be an "an opportunity, not only for India but the world, to see what kind of things can be done". "Eventually I want to reach a point where all separations like this will become routine," he said.

The operation will be a first for India, where there has been a rapid expansion of western-style private hospitals in city centres. "We can both learn something from each other. Our team of 20 doctors will be there working with Dr Carson's group. It will be a joint effort," said Anupam Sibal, director of medical services at Indraprastha Apollo hospital.

Dr Carson defended himself against accusations that the operation would be unethical because of the risks that one child might be sacrificed to save the other. "We have to learn from our mistakes, that is the lesson of human experience," he said.

Profile: Benjamin Carson

Benjamin Carson's story is a triumph of hope over prejudice. The neurosurgeon's rise from a poor household in rust-belt America to Yale and eventually the world-famous Johns Hopkins medical school has made him a popular motivational speaker. He has been quoted by Bill Clinton and was invited to the president's first inauguration.

Dr Carson grew up in a Detroit housing project and was raised by a divorced mother who never graduated from high school. His journey began with being labelled the slowest learner in class to becoming head of paediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions 21 years ago, at 32. He came to the medical world's notice three years later when he performed radical surgery to separate two seven-month-old boys.

Dr Carson attributed his rise, which saw him pick up degrees at Yale and the University of Michigan, to his mother's insistence that he read two books a week.

Realising his story had the power to inspire children, especially African-Americans, Dr Carson took to motivational speaking. A devout Christian, who referred to God in his press conference, Dr Carson's books on positive thinking and speeches to Fortune 100 companies have made him a multimillionaire.

His books, including Think Big! and Gifted Hands, quickly became best sellers bringing him to the attention of American politicians. Not only was he feted by Bill Clinton but last year Dr Carson accepted President Bush's invitation to join the White House's Council on Bioethics.

In 2003, he played a doctor in Stuck on You, a film about conjoined twins. His cameo role raised $500,000 (£284,000) for a medical scholarship to be awarded to underprivileged but talented youngsters.

www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/ ... 65,00.html
Starting in a few minutes on channel 5:

Joined at The Head: Extraordinary People (Documentary)

Time - 21:00 - 22:00 (1 hour long)
When - Monday 21st November on five

Documentary telling the amazing stories of three pairs of conjoined twins who are joined at the head. The programme shows the different approaches to the issue of being permanently attached to another human being taken by those affected. We meet two sisters who have learned to live with the condition; the parents who took the decision to separate at an early age; and two adult twins who decided to risk life-threatening surgery, in the hope that they might start new lives as individuals.

(Stereo, Subtitles)

Interetsing documentary (from the series I long ago nominated "Most Likely to Make me Cry") - neither surgery turned out perfectly (and with the Iranian twins it was fatal for them both) and I'm unsure if I''d want to tkae the rsik but it really couldn't be avoided in some cases. Benjamin Carson did do a great job of explaining the complexities of the surgeries though.

As some conjoined twins share brain tissue it does make me wonder about the nature of identity in those twins.
I heard about one case in my philosophy class where conjoined twins were born and the parents wanted to leave them the way they were and let nature take it's course, leave it up to God and stuff. The doctor's said that if they did not seperate them than both twins would die and got a court order so that they could seperate them. Both the kids died anyway, if I remember correctly. :(
I'm not sure if I'm looking right as I can't find many reports on them but there are conjoined twins in Iraq - they have 3 kidneys and only one has a lower intestine and legs. They have to be separated and it is possible they could do something for them both but they can't be dealt with in Iraq. I would have thought this would provide a much needed PR coup for the US army if they whisked them off to the US and let Benjamin Carson do his work.

In Baghdad, the parents of a boy and girl born joined together at the hip have issued an appeal for help.

The twins need to be separated, but there are no facilities for the operation in Iraq. Jonny Dymond reports from Baghdad.

BBC streaming video news report
Two-headed Brazilian baby

Brazilian baby 'born healthy with two heads... and both are suckling mother's breasts'
Last updated at 4:24 PM on 21st December 2011

A Brazilian woman who has given birth to a baby with two heads, admitted she had initially expected twins.

Maria de Nazare, gave birth by caesarean at a hospital in Anajas, in Brazil's northern Para state, with her newborn weighing 9.9lbs.

And in a tribute to the religious celebrations at Christmas, she has decided to call the pair Emanoel and Jesus.

Following the birth of her baby, mother Maria, 25, admitted that she had been told she was set to welcome twins.

But following a number of tests, doctors have revealed that the baby has two brains and two spines but shares one heart, lungs, liver and pelvis.

The hospital's director, Claudionor Assis de Vasconcelos, told Brazil's O Povo newspaper that the woman decided to travel to the hospital because she was feeling strong abdominal pains.

The 25-year-old mother, who lives in a rural area of the state, had no ultra-sound scans during her pregnancy and only found out about the abnormality minutes before the baby was born at 1am on Monday morning.

He said: 'When doctors scanned her they realised that the baby had two heads and that a normal birth would be a great risk both for mother and baby. The caesarean took an hour because the baby was sitting down.

'Despite all the problems we have as a small interior hospital we managed to save both mother and baby, which was our aim. And for us it was a great surprise to find out that the child was in really good health.'

Neila Dahas, director of the Santa Casa hospital said: 'If both their brains are functioning, how are we going to choose which head to remove?

'We are not considering the possibility of surgery. What we've got to think about at this moment is to maintain the children in good condition and see how they will develop.'

Mr Vasconcelos added that at no point did the mother, who has three other children, appear distraught that her son has two heads.

He said: 'On the contrary, the baby was received with much happiness by the family.

'The mother fed both mouths and the baby stayed with her in her room the whole time. Her desire was to take her baby straight home.'

The mother and baby were taken by air ambulance yesterday afternoon to a specialist hospital in the state capital, Belem, to carry out further tests. They are expected to be allowed home later this week.

Remarkably, this is the second time a two-headed baby has been born in Brazil this year. Sueli Ferreira, 27, gave birth to a two-headed baby in Paraiba State, but it died a few hours later because of lack of oxygen to one of the child's heads.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... Jesus.html