Conjoined twins to be separated

Three year old conjoined twins Anastasia and Tatiana Dogaru - born connected at the head - are to be separated.

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Motivated by warnings that her daughters would likely die without surgery, the twins’ mother has decided to allow experts to attempt to separate them.

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The top of Tatiana’s head is attached to the back of Anastasia’s. Twins born joined at the head – called craniopagus twins – are extremely rare, occurring in about 1 in 2.5 million births.

The separation carries many risks – including the possibility of brain damage, stroke or a deadly amount of blood loss – but doctors say the twins cannot continue to live as they are. Not only is it awkward, but their conjoined condition would lead to a variety of medical problems.

“Without separation, the girls won’t make it,” says Dr Kenneth Salyer, a plastic surgeon who founded the World Craniofacial Foundation and serves as chairman of the board. “And with separation it’s a high-risk operation.”

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At least four operations are expected to be required, with the first likely to take place in May.

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