In historic surgery, Montefiore physicians separate twins joined at the head

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After 27 hours of surgery, 13-month-old twins who were formerly joined at the head are both recovering, separately, at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City Friday afternoon.

Surgery to separate the twins started Thursday morning, and the separation procedure lasted nearly 16.5 hours, according to CNN. Neurosurgeon James Goodrich, MD, led the craniopagus surgery to separate Jadon and Anias McDonald. It was Dr. Goodrich's seventh craniopagus surgery — his second performed at CHAM — and just the 59th such surgery performed in the world since 1952, according to CNN.

After they were separated, physicians at the hospital operated on the twins separately to rebuild their skulls. Oren Tepper, MD, a plastic surgeon, led the reconstruction surgery.

According to a Facebook post by the twins' mother, Nicole McDonald, her mood is "one of celebration mixed with uncertainty," as Jadon did well during surgery but the clinicians are predicting he may not be able to move one side of his body.

Dr. Goodrich, in a 2014 interview with CBS News, said "the historical treatment was basically to sacrifice one [twin] to save the other," but new techniques — pioneered by Dr. Goodrich — have improved outcomes.

CHAM allowed CNN exclusive access into the operating room during the procedure and also documented the twins' journey on its Facebook page.

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