World Bulletin / News Desk
Doctors announced Friday they successfully separated a pair of infant twins who were conjoined at the head, a medical feat that took 27 hours of surgery.
Thirteen-month-old Jadon and Anias McDonald were conjoined at the top of their skulls. The pair shared blood vessels and brain tissue, an extremely rare conditions that occurs once in every 10 million births, according to doctors at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, where the marathon surgery took place.
Separating the twins took about 16 hours and an additional nine hours were spent reshaping and repairing each boy’s skull.
Their mother, Nicole McDonald, posted about the surgery on Facebook and said that even though she was very cautious about the future, she was very thankful.
“I actually asked why they rearranged the room because I hadn't really internalized the idea that there would be two beds in here,” she said in the post, which featured a photo of Jadon and wishes for a “happy rebirth day”.
The McDonalds raised more than $100,000 to separate and care for the boys. Led by Dr. James Goodrich, the operation, known as a craniopagus surgery, was only the 59th such surgery ever to take place since 1952, the hospital said. Separation is crucial – about 80 percent of cranially conjoined twins die by the time they reach their second year of life.
In 2004, Goodrich separated cranially conjoined twins Carl and Clarence Aguirre of the Philippines, who are now teenagers. Those twins still undergo physical therapy and Carl has limited use of his left arm and leg.
The recovery process for the McDonald twins is likely to be very long as well.
“We are standing on the brink of a vast unknown,” McDonald said in a separate Facebook post. “The next few months will be critical in terms of recovery and we will not know for sure how Anias and Jadon are recovering for many weeks.”