Twins of Philippines separated in the US

Twins of Philippines separated in the US

SAN FRANCISCO - Agence France-Presse
Twins of Philippines separated in the US

Conjoined twins Angelica (R) and Angelina Sabuco play during a press conference before the operation at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. AFP photo

US surgeons on Tuesday successfully separated conjoined two-year-old girls born in the Philippines, the California hospital where the operation took place announced.

Medics operated for eight hours to separate Angelina and Angelica Sabuco, who were born joined at the chest and abdomen.

“The surgeons are happy with the progress of the operation so far,” said Reena Mukamal, a spokeswoman at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in the northern city of Palo Alto, after the twins were moved to separate operating rooms for reconstructive surgery.

The girls, who turned two in August, are joined at the chest and belly but have separate brains, hearts, kidneys, stomachs and intestines.

Before the operation doctors had said they expected surgery to take eight to nine hours -- six hours to separate the girls and two to three hours of reconstruction.

It was lead surgeon Gary Hartman’s sixth operation on conjoined twins. The most recent set of twins separated at the hospital were Yurelia and Fiorella Rocha-Arias of Costa Rica in November 2007.

“This is a major operation, but we really expect both twins to survive and to do well,” said Hartman before the surgery.

The girls’ mother, Ginady, said she learned her babies were conjoined when she was seven months pregnant and her husband was working in San Jose, California.

She joined her husband, Fidel, in California in late 2010, more than a year after the girls were born, and the couple began meeting with doctors.

“I want them to live normally, like other children,” said Ginady