Doctors in Kentucky successfully separated 7-week-old twin girls who were joined at the chest chest and abdominal cavity. Most cases of separation are extremely risky and life-threatening, but doctors decided to move forward because both girls needed increased breathing support. The twins, who shared some heart structures and had connected livers, remain on ventilators but since the operation on November 11 have grown stronger each day. Their long term prognosis is unknown, but according to chief cardiovascular surgeon Erle H. Austin III, the hospital is “cautiously optimistic” about their future. The most generally accepted theory for why conjoined twins occur is fission, a reproductive error in which a fertilized egg only partially splits. Conjoined twins occur roughly once in every 200,000 births, with approximately half being stillborn and an additional one-third dying after 24 hours.
Read the full story at ABC News.