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Twin boys conjoined at the head undergo successful surgery

/ 09:29 PM October 14, 2016
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Jadon and Anias McDonald have successfully been separated, but their parents still worry about future health complications. Screengrab from Facebook/Nicole McDonald

A set of twins whose heads were conjoined were successfully separated at the Bronx Hospital in New York City, USA, on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

Thirteen-month-old Jadon and Anias McDonald, whose rare condition occurs once in every 10 million births, went under the knife at Montefiore Medical Center in a grueling 16-hour operation, according to the New York Daily News.

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Despite warnings from doctors that the twins could suffer physical issues after being divided, the boys’ parents, Nicole and Christian McDonald, decided to go on with the delicate procedure in order to give them the benefits of growing up separated.

Aside from being fused at the cranium, the “craniopagus twins” shared blood vessels and some brain tissue, which made the operation extremely risky.

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The surgeon who operated on the boys, Dr. James Goodrich, is the same one who famously separated a different set of twins who were also conjoined at the head in 2004.  His subjects have grown up healthy and lived normal lives.

Although the operation went as planned, Nicole said the twins were not out of the woods yet, and described their family’s situation as “on a brink of the vast unknown.”  She also admitted being attached to the boys just the way they were.

“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,” McDonald wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.

Of the two, Anias is the dominant twin with majority of the vessels, but he struggled more with medical problems including breathing and heart difficulties.

After the operation, Nicole claimed that Anias “really got rocked,” and doctors said he “might not be able to move one or both sides of his body.”

Jadon, on the other hand, “was such a rockstar” that he “hardly batted an eye through the whole procedure,” his mother added.

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Despite the positive development, the McDonalds know that the odds are against their sons’ survival, since there’s an 80 percent chance that they would die before age two. Doctors notified them that one or both could suffer developmental complications after the surgery.

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Photo from Facebook/Nicole McDonald

The now separated brothers will remain intubated for at least a week, and “then go from there,” Nicole said.

Upon recovery, a plastic surgeon will reconstruct the twins’ skull and will undergo physical therapy on how to properly crawl and sit up.

GoFundMe page dedicated to the pair’s recovery has already raised more than $100,000.  Khristian Ibarrola

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TAGS: Anias and Jadon, Bronx, Conjoint twins, craniopagus twins, health complications, New York, successful operation
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