This is the astonishing moment a pair of conjoined twins saw each other for the very first time after they endured a mammoth 27-hour operation to separate their heads,
Jadon and Anias McDonald have not been able to see each other for 13 months after they were born joined at the head.
But medics at the Children’s Hospital at Montifiore Medical Centre in New York successfully carried out life-threatening surgery that enabled the boys to stare open-mouthed after they finally caught sight of one another.
The twins are set to be moved to rehab after five weeks recovery before they are eventually allowed to go home.
The previous record for recovery from craniopagus surgery was eight weeks.
Surgeon Dr James Goodrich, the world’s leading expert on twins conjoined at the head, said “Historically, this will be the fastest (recovery).”
Conjoined twins are identical twins joined in utero
Also called Siamese Twins
Conjoined twins are identical twins joined in utero. An extremely rare phenomenon, the occurrence is estimated to range from 1 in 49,000 births to 1 in 189,000 births, with a somewhat higher incidence in Southeast Asia, Africa and Brazil. Approximately half are stillborn, and an additional one-third die within 24 hours. Most live births are female, with a ratio of 3:1. Most stillborns are male.
Two contradicting theories exist to explain the origins of conjoined twins. The more generally accepted theory is fission, in which the fertilized egg splits partially. The other theory, no longer believed to be the basis of conjoined twinning, is fusion, in which a fertilized egg completely separates, but stem cells find like-stem cells on the other twin and fuse the twins together. Conjoined twins share a single common chorion, placenta, and amniotic sac, although these characteristics are not exclusive to conjoined twins as there are some monozygotic but non-conjoined twins who also share these structures in utero.
The most famous pair of conjoined twins was Chang and Eng Bunker, Thai brothers born in Siam, now Thailand. They traveled with P.T. Barnum’s circus for many years and were labeled as the Siamese Twins. Chang and Eng were joined by a band of flesh, cartilage, and their fused livers at the torso. In modern times, they could have been easily separated. Due to the brothers’ fame and the rarity of the condition, the term “Siamese twins” came to be used as a synonym for conjoined twins.
Their mother, Nicole McDonald added: “It’s the most amazing thing. I just can’t even believe it.”
The boys shared brain tissue and had entwined blood vessels but will soon learn to crawl, walk and lift their separate heads independently.
Their condition affects just one in every 10 million live births.