Conjoined twins lead separate lives at last
Doctors have successfully separated a pair of four-month-old conjoined girls after six hours of surgery.
The infants, called An An and Xin Xin - which combined mean to be 'contented' or 'at ease' in Chinese - are in stable condition after doctors at Shanghai Children's Medical Centre separated their shared liver and heart sac on Monday.
They also reshaped their ribs and reconstructed their chests with titanium-alloy plates, the Shanghai Morning Post reported yesterday.
They slept in separate beds for the first time on Monday but were kept close together so they could see each other and hear each other's heart beat from a monitoring machine.
They had been sleeping curled up and face-to-face since birth. They will be kept in the intensive care unit on respirators for up to six months.
Medical centre president Yu Zhiqing said the girls would be able to lead healthy lives as individuals.
The twins' mother, almost 40 years old, had suffered two miscarriages before. She became aware that her twins were conjoined during a check 18 weeks into the pregnancy but was advised they had a good chance of survival as their hearts were separate. They also had separate digestive systems.
Their mother was advised to move to the hospital, which had successfully separated two pairs of conjoined twins previously, during pregnancy.
Born at a combined weight of 1.89 kilograms on April 20, the twins were placed in the intensive care unit while doctors waited for their weight to reach 10 kilograms before surgery.