There are several theories about the reason for conjoined twins, one of which suggests that during early development, two separate embryos somehow fuse together.
Another theory argues that “when the embryo splits… usually between 13 and 15 days after conception… separation stops before the process is complete, and the resulting twins are conjoined.”
Yet, these theories are not of much help when you are faced with a set of conjoined twins in real life.
The University of Maryland Medical Center informs that conjoined twins occur just once in every 200,000 live births, and 40 to 60 percent of them are stillborn, while 35 percent of conjoined twins survive no more than one day.
The most common type is twins joined at the chest or abdomen and the success of the separation surgery depends on where the twins are joined.
Doctors initially determine which organs the siblings share, and therefore plan surgery after they are born. At least one twin survives 75% of the time.
Additionally, for some reason, female siblings seem to have a better shot at survival than their male counterparts. It has been found that more male twins conjoin in the womb than female twins, but females are three times as likely as males to be born alive.
In early December 2018, five surgeons, ten doctors, and fifteen nurses had the toughest task to separate two conjoined twins.
The twin sisters were born at S S Hospital in Varanasi, India, weighing seven pounds in total. Yet, they were born connected at the stomach, and doctors weren’t sure whether they would survive.
Yet, after three days, doctors pointed out that the twins have the biggest chance for longer life if they are separated.
Their parents, hopeless, could not afford the medical costs. At this point, surgeons assured them that they would not have to pay a penny – the hospital would cover the costs.
They agreed to trust the staff at the hospital, despite their fears. After five long hours, the challenging operation ended with a success.
It took place on 6 December, and the doctors anesthetized both of the baby girls at the same time and went on to separate their breastbones and livers.
“It was one of the rarest operations our hospital does,” said Dr. Vaibhav Pandey, assistant professor of pediatric surgery at S S Hospital said that it was one of the rarest operations the hospital does, so he was happy that both of the girls survived.
To capture the moment of joy, the medical team took a quick celebratory photo.
The twins were doing well, so doctors planned to discharge them after several days. It was reported that they will be named during traditional rituals performed when they get home.
This incredible story is another example of the dedication, love, and care families receive when they walk through the doors of hospitals.