Conjoined twin brothers Anias and Jadon McDonald, who’ve been attached at the head for their entire 13 months of life, were successfully separated at NYC’s Montefiore Medical Center during a 16-hour-plus surgery that went into Friday morning.
The procedure was almost stopped half way through after it was discovered the boys shared more brain tissue than first expected.
But eventually, their surgeon, Dr James Goodrich, was able to find an opening and to continue separating the pair.
Jadon left the operating theatre at 7am, however Anias was still in surgery late Friday morning.
Their parents Nicole and Christian, from Chicago, Illinois, anxiously sat waiting on room the entire time.
On Facebook, Nicole, 31, wrote of the ordeal.
She posted: “The overall atmosphere was one of celebration mixed with uncertainty.
“Anias really got rocked in this procedure. It really nowise up to God in terms of how he recovers.
“I keep picturing Anias smiling behind his right middle finger in his mouth. Twenty four hours ago he was so rambunctious…full of life. God please give me my baby back.”
Describing Jadon’s ordeal, Nicole added: “Jadon is such a rock star. They said he hardly batted an eye through the whole procedure in terms of maintaining his vitals.
“I didn’t cry until the surgeon’s left the room. I was barely able to even utter the words ‘thank you’ because of the pit that still sits heavy in my stomach. We are standing on the brink of a vast unknown.”
Jason and Anias, who have a three-year-old brother called Aza, were born via cesarean section last September, and while their parents insisted the boys were perfect as they were, they decided the separation was the best option for them both to lead normal lives.
The operation took place at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, new York, and cost $2.5 million.
Twins conjoined at the head are technically called ‘craniopagus twins’, which is a rare phenomenon which occurs in just one in every 2.5 million births.
Around 40 per cent are stillborn, and of those that survive birth, a third die within 24 hours.
If they survive this point, there is still an 80 per cent chance they could die before the age of two if not separated.
The team who performed the procedure on Jadon and Anias spent months of practicing and planning.
Before the procedure, Dr Goodrich told CNN, “This is about as complicated as it gets. I know the vascular system we have to go through is complex. It’s big. It’s doable, but it’s going to be tedious.”
While Dr Goodrich added the boys’ speech won’t be affected, he said there was a chance they could struggle with movement, as they’ll lack back control, having never sat up.
A signifiant amount of the surgery has been covered by the family’s health insurance, but they are still $100,000 short.
Sherri E. White