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American Surgeons Successfully Separate 13-Month-Old Twin Boys Conjoined At Head

A team of surgeons at the Montefiore Medical Centre in New York operated on 13-months-old twins who were congenitally joined at the head. The complex, 16-hours-long operation was successfully completed, and the twin boys have been separated.


Image Source: Nicole McDonald


The operation started on Thursday morning when around forty medical experts performed the rare and complicated procedure on the twins named Jadon and Anias McDonald. The operation ended successfully on Friday at 2 am.


Image Source: Nicole McDonald


Dr James Goodrich, the paediatric neurosurgeon, led the team of medical surgeons and experts. The skull and brain tissues of the two boys were fully detached using high-tech imaging systems.


Image Source: Nicole McDonald


The most complex part of the procedure was trying to identify a clear line of distinction in a region of brain tissue measuring 5 x 7 centimetres. The mother of the two children, Nicole McDonald, said on Facebook:

“Dr Goodrich had to make the call and the final cut based on his instinct.”

Extensive tests were carried out before the surgery was performed and an appeal was made to the world to fund their operation via their GoFundMe page.

“Craniopagus twins occur in one in every ten million live births. There are four million births in the US every year. So far in all of my research I have yet to find a set of twins like mine born in the United States in the last 20 years.”


Image Source: Nicole McDonald
Image Source: Nicole McDonald


Even as Anias underwent surgery, Nicole McDonald shared an image of Jadon just out of the OT and said:

“[the environment in the hospital is] one of celebration mixed with uncertainty”.


Image Source: Nicole McDonald


The doctors intend to incubate the twins for seven days while Nicole McDonald took to Facebook to share her feelings with the well-wishers from around the globe:

“We are standing on the brink of a vast unknown. 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. We just took a huge leap of faith. I’m still frozen in space and time […] I’ll be hanging out there until I see those smiles again.”

Anias’ blood pressure and heartbeat dropped dramatically as the covering of the brain, dura, was cut. Jadon fared much better during the procedure while the doctors speculate that Anias will suffer from paralysis as he recovers.