A surgeon and some hospital staff in New York City, USA have successfully separated the twin boys whose heads were conjoined.
The babies were thirteen-month-old and they were Jadon and Anias McDonald. Their rare condition occurs once in every 10 million births.
On Thursday (Friday in Manila), the conjoined babies were successfully separated at the Bronx Hospital in New York City.
According to the New York Daily News, they went under the knife at Montefiore Medical Center in a grueling 16-hour operation.
The surgery was led by Dr. James Goodrich, considered the leading expert on what’s known as craniopagus surgery, assisted by several staff of the hospital.
The boys’ parents, Nicole and Christian McDonald, decided to go on with the delicate procedure in order to give them the benefits of growing up separated, despite warnings from doctors that the twins could suffer physical issues after being divided.
The doctors gave the warning because aside from being fused at the cranium, the “craniopagus twins” shared blood vessels and some brain tissue, which made the operation extremely risky.
Among the two cute babies, Anias is the dominant twin because he owns majority of the vessels, but he struggled more with medical problems including breathing and heart difficulties.
After the operation, Nicole claimed that Anias “really got rocked,” and doctors said he “might not be able to move one or both sides of his body.”
Jadon, on the other hand, “was such a rockstar” that he “hardly batted an eye through the whole procedure,” his mother added.
Despite the positive development, the McDonalds know that the odds are against their sons’ survival, since there’s an 80 percent chance that they would die before age two. Doctors notified them that one or both could suffer developmental complications after the surgery.
Nicole said that the now separated brothers will remain intubated for at least a week, and “then go from there.”
Upon recovery, a plastic surgeon will reconstruct the skull of the twins and will undergo physical therapy on how to properly crawl and sit up.
Dr. Goodrich has several achievements already since he is the same one who famously separated a different set of twins who were also conjoined at the head in 2004. His subjects have grown up healthy and lived normal lives.
His operation on the McDonalds marked the seventh separation surgery he performed and also the 59th craniopagus separation surgery in the world since 1952.