Two conjoined twins, aged 2 years old, who were joined at the chest and abdomen, were separated during a lengthy and very risky operation at Stanford University’s children’s hospital last week. The Philippines born sisters, Angelina and Angelica Sabuco got their independence after a surgical procedure which lasted more than nine hours and took over 40 people to complete. The girls shared livers, diaphragms, breast bones and abdominal walls before the operation took place. Over 75 per cent of conjoined twins die during pregnancy showing how lucky the twins were to get to this point. The girls are expected to undergo more surgery in order to recover.
The surgery started in the morning and by mid-afternoon the two girls were in separate operation theatres for the second phase of the surgery, which involved reconstructing the areas where they had been joined together and sharing body parts. After the two hours this part of the operation took they were transferred to an intensive care unit to recover, each with a large scar that extended from their chest to their abdomen. The lead surgeon said the procedure went well and that the long term prognosis was good. He said he expected “a happy, healthy set of girls. We don’t see any barrier to a full recovery”.
While the girls had been coping with being conjoined extremely well, including learning to walk even though the way they were connected meant they looked face to face, doctors said staying connected would have posed many long term medical problems. Their mother said, “This is a dream come true. Words cannot express how the family feels.”
The girls are currently being kept sedated by doctors but could be woken in the next few days. They are expected to stay in hospital for at least two weeks to recover, before undergoing further surgery.