Surgeons in Italy have successfully separated conjoined twins whose skulls were fused at the back, and who are now expected to go on to live normal lives.
A team of 30 doctors and nurses spent 18 hours in a third and final surgery last month to separate Ervina and Prefina Bangalo.
The girls were born in June 2018 with fused skulls back-to-back and sharing critical blood vessels around the brain.
They underwent their first two surgeries in May and June last year to give each girl their own venous drainage systems – the most complicated aspect of the process when dealing with fusions at the back of the skull – known as total posterior craniopagus.
The girls’ final surgery in June used 3-D imaging and neurosimulators to physically separate them.
They were given mirrors beforehand so they could see each other before the separation and recognise their facial expressions and sounds.
Dr Carlo Marras, the chief of paediatric surgery at the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, told a press conference that the task to separate the girls in a perfect condition was a “very ambitious” one, but that he believed they would be able to have “a normal life” after a phase of rehabilitation.